Australian Systematic Botany Australian Systematic Botany Society
Taxonomy, biogeography and evolution of plants
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Molecular phylogenetics provides new insights into the systematics of Pimelea and Thecanthes (Thymelaeaceae)

Charles S. P. Foster A C , David J. Cantrill B , Elizabeth A. James B , Anna E. Syme B , Rebecca Jordan B , Rachel Douglas B , Simon Y. W. Ho A and Murray J. Henwood A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.

B National Herbarium of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Private Bag 2000, South Yarra, Vic. 3141, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: charles.foster@sydney.edu.au

Australian Systematic Botany 29(3) 185-196 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB16013
Submitted: 1 April 2016  Accepted: 6 July 2016   Published: 29 November 2016

Abstract

Pimelea Banks & Sol. ex Gaertn. is a genus of flowering plants comprising an estimated 90 species in Australia and ~35 species in New Zealand. The genus is economically important, with the inflorescences of some species having floricultural applications, and the presence of toxic compounds in several species proving poisonous to livestock. Pimelea grows in a variety of habitats ranging from arid to alpine, suggesting a complicated biogeographic history. The relationships within Pimelea remain largely uncertain, despite previous attempts at clarification using molecular phylogenetics. However, it is clear that Pimelea is closely related to Thecanthes Wikstr., with the two genera comprising the subtribe Pimeleinae. We used Bayesian and maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analyses of four plastid markers (matK, rbcL, rps16, trnL–F) and one nuclear ribosomal marker (ITS) to examine the evolutionary relationships within Pimeleinae. We found strong support for the monophyly of Pimeleinae but, similar to previous studies, Pimelea was paraphyletic with respect to Thecanthes. Our results also indicated that P. longiflora R.Br. subsp. longiflora and P. longiflora subsp. eyrei (F.Muell.) Rye are best considered as distinct species. Therefore, we reduce Thecanthes to synonymy with Pimelea, making the necessary new combination Pimelea filifolia (Rye) C.S.P.Foster et M.J.Henwood (previously Thecanthes filifolia Rye), and also reinstate Pimelea eyrei F.Muell.

Additional keywords: Bayesian analysis, maximum-likelihood phylogenetic analysis.


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