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

Higher-level relationships among the eucalypts are resolved by ITS-sequence data

Dorothy A. Steane, Dean Nicolle, Gay E. McKinnon, René E. Vaillancourt and Brad M. Potts

Australian Systematic Botany 15(1) 49 - 62
Published: 28 February 2002

Abstract

This expanded survey of ITS sequences represents the largest analysis of molecular data ever attempted on Eucalyptus. Sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA were included in an analysis of 90 species of Eucalyptus s.s. and 28 species representing eight other genera (Allosyncarpia, Angophora, Arillastrum, Corymbia, Eucalyptopsis, Stockwellia, Lophostemon and Metrosideros). The results of the study indicate that Angophora and Corymbia form a well-supported clade that is highly differentiated from Eucalyptus s.s. Corymbia species are divided between two clades, one of which may be the sister to Angophora. Allosyncarpia, Arillastrum, Eucalyptopsis and ‘Stockwellia’ are also highly differentiated from Eucalyptus s.s. If the genus Eucalyptus is to be expanded to include Angophora and Corymbia(sensu Brooker 2000), ITS data suggest that Allosyncarpia, Eucalyptopsis, ‘Stockwellia’ and potentially Arillastrum should also be included in Eucalyptus s.l. The ITS data suggest that subg. Symphyomyrtus is paraphyletic and that subg. Minutifructus should be included within it. Within subg.Symphyomyrtus, only sect. Maidenaria appears to be monophyletic. Sections Adnataria and Dumaria are probably monophyletic; sections Exsertaria and Latoangulatae are very close and probably should be combined in a single section. Section Bisectae is polyphyletic and is divided into two distinct lineages. The phylogenetic groups depicted by ITS data are consistent with the frequency of natural inter-specific hybridisations as well as data from controlled crosses within subgenus Symphyomyrtus. The ITS data illustrate that subg. Idiogenes and western Australian monocalypts are early evolutionary lines relative to E. diversifolia, E. rubiginosa (monotypic subg. Primitiva) and the eastern monocalypts and that subg. Primitiva should be sunk into subg. Eucalyptus. Subgenus Eudesmia may be monophyletic, grouping with subgenera Idiogenes and Eucalyptus. Further work is required to confirm the phylogenetic positions of the monotypic subgenera Alveolata, Cruciformes, Acerosae and Cuboidea.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SB00039

© CSIRO 2002


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