Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Molecular phylogenetics of the Australian acacias of subg. Phyllodineae (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) based on the trnK intron

Joseph T. Miller, Rose Andrew and Randall J. Bayer

Australian Journal of Botany 51(2) 167 - 177
Published: 16 April 2003


With over 960 species, Acacia is the largest genus of plants in Australia with all but nine of these species classified as subgenus Phyllodineae. DNA sequences for the chloroplast trnK region were sequenced for over 100 species to test sectional classification and survey species relationships within this subgenus. Only one of the seven recognised sections was found to be monophyletic; however, the close relationship of sect. Botrycephalae to certain racemose, uninerved species of sect. Phyllodineae is confirmed. Support is found for an expanded version of Vassal's Pulchelloidea, with the addition of sect. Lycopodiifoliae and several members of sect. Phyllodineae. These species, while morphologically distinct in adult foliage, possess similar seedling characteristics. The multinerved species are unresolved, indicating a rapid morphological radiation with little chloroplast sequence divergence among these species. The low levels of sequence divergence, large numbers of morphological species groups and the adaptive radiation of the group are discussed.

© CSIRO 2003

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