Our survey of data collected in the Chromosome Number Database for Polish angiosperms indicated that the 1,498 species with chromosome counts represent 40% of the total angiosperms (3,719) occurring in Poland, including 1,205 native species (53% of native species) and 194 anthropophytes (56% of anthropophytes). The chromosome numbers are known for all native species occurring in Poland within 298 genera and 46 families, and for all anthropophytes from 79 genera and 11 families. The remaining angiosperm groups are less explored: chromosome counts from Poland are known for 9% of cultivated species and 5% of ephemerophytes. According to generic basic chromosome numbers, 46.44% of Polish angiosperms have been classified as polyploid. By three different threshold methods, the contribution of polyploid plants to the Polish flora is 64.64%, 50.89% or 42.89%. Polyploidy is more common among indigenous than non-indigenous plants, and the ploidy distribution among plants from the Polish Tatras does not differ significantly from that observed in the rest of native Polish plants.
Intraspecific changes in genome size and chromosome number lead to divergence and species evolution. Heavy metals disturb the cell cycle and cause mutations. Areas contaminated by heavy metals (metalliferous sites) are places where microevolutionary processes accelerate: very often only a few generations are enough for a new genotype to arise. This study, which continues our long-term research on Viola tricolor (Violaceae), a species occurring on both metalliferous (Zn, Pb, Cd, Cu) and non-metalliferous soils in Western and Central Europe, is aimed at determining the influence of environments polluted with heavy metals on genome size and karyological variability. The genome size of V. tricolor ranged from 3.801 to 4.203 pg, but the differences between metallicolous and non-metallicolous populations were not statistically significant. Altered chromosome numbers were significantly more frequent in material from the polluted sites than from the non-polluted sites (43% versus 28%). Besides the standard chromosome number (2n = 26), aneuploid cells with lower (2n = 18-25) or higher (2n = 27, 28) chromosome numbers were found in plants from both types of site, but polyploid (2n = 42) cells were observed only in plants from the metalliferous locality. The lack of correlation between chromosome variability in root meristematic cells and genome size estimated from peduncle cells can be attributed to elimination of somatic mutations in generative meristem, producing chromosome-stable non-meristematic tissues in the peduncle.