Parallel evolution of arborescent carrots (Daucus) in Macaronesia

Kamil E. Frankiewicz, Alexei Oskolski, Łukasz Banasiak, Francisco Fernandes, Jean Pierre Reduron, Jorge Alfredo Reyes-Betancort, Liliana Szczeparska, Mohammed Alsarraf, Jakub Baczyński, Krzysztof Spalik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Premise: Despite intensive research, the pathways and driving forces behind the evolution of derived woodiness on oceanic islands remain obscure. The genus Daucus comprises mostly herbs (therophytes, hemicryptophytes) with few rosette treelets (chamaephytes) endemic to various Macaronesian archipelagos, suggesting their independent evolution. To elucidate the evolutionary pathways to derived woodiness, we examined phylogenetic relationships and the habit and secondary xylem evolution in Daucus and related taxa. Methods: Sixty taxa were surveyed for molecular markers, life history, and habit traits. Twenty-one species were considered for wood anatomical characters. A dated phylogeny was estimated using Bayesian methods. The evolution of selected traits was reconstructed using parsimony and maximum likelihood. Results: Daucus dispersed independently to the Canary Islands (and subsequently to Madeira), Cape Verde, and the Azores in the late Miocene and Pleistocene. Life span, reproductive strategy, and life form were highly homoplastic; the ancestor of Daucus was probably a monocarpic, biennial hemicryptophyte. Rosette treelets evolved independently in the Canarian-Madeiran lineage and in Cape Verde, the latter within the last 0.13 Myr. Treelets and hemicryptophytes did not differ in wood anatomy. Pervasive axial parenchyma in wood occurred more often in polycarpic rather than monocarpic species. Conclusions: Life span and life form in Daucus are evolutionarily labile and may change independently of wood anatomy, which is related to plant reproductive strategy rather than to life form. Insular woodiness may evolve rapidly (as demonstrated in D. bischoffii), and in Daucus, it does not seem to be an adaptation to lower the risk of xylem embolism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)394-412
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • Apiaceae
  • Daucinae
  • Melanoselinum
  • Monizia
  • Tornabenea
  • habit evolution
  • insular woodiness
  • molecular dating
  • secondary woodiness
  • wood anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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