A molecular phylogenetic study of southern African Apiaceae

Carolina I. Calviño, Patricia M. Tilney, Ben Erik Van Wyk, Stephen R. Downie

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77 Citations (Scopus)


It has been suggested that southern Africa is the origin of the predominantly herbaceous Apiaceae subfamily Apioideae and that the woody habit is plesiomorphic. We expand previous molecular phylogenetic analyses of the family by considering all but three of the approximately 38 genera native to southern Africa, including all genera whose members, save one, have a woody habit. Representatives of five other genera are included because they may be closely related to these southern African taxa. Chloroplast DNA rps16 intron and/or nuclear rDNA ITS sequences for 154 accessions are analyzed using maximum parsimony, Bayesian, and maximum likelihood methods. Within Apioideae, two major clades hitherto unrecognized in the subfamily are inferred. The monogeneric Lichtensteinia clade is sister group to all other members of the subfamily, whereas the Annesorhiza clade (Annesorhiza, Chamarea, and Itasina) plus Molopospermum (and Astydamia in the ITS trees) are the successive sister group to all Apioideae except Lichtensteinia. Tribe Heteromorpheae is expanded to include Pseudocarum, "Oreofraga" ined., and five genera endemic to Madagascar. The southern African origin of subfamily Apioideae is corroborated (with subsequent migration northward into Eurasia along two dispersal routes), and the positions of the herbaceous Lichtensteinia and Annesorhiza clades within the subfamily suggest, surprisingly, that its ancestor was herbaceous, not woody.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1828-1847
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006


  • Apiaceae
  • Apioideae
  • Phylogeny
  • Saniculoideae
  • Southern Africa
  • Woodiness
  • cpDNA rps16 intron
  • rDNA ITS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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