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

An assessment of old and new DNA sequence evidence for the paraphyly of Banksia with respect to Dryandra (Proteaceae)

Austin R. Mast A B , Eric H. Jones A and Shawn P. Havery A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida 32306, USA.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 18(1) 75-88
Submitted: 3 June 2004  Accepted: 31 December 2004   Published: 29 March 2005


Banksia (80 spp.; Proteaceae) has undergone extensive speciation and adaptive radiation on the island continent of Australia. Its members range from prostrate shrubs in the dry, infertile sandplains to 25 m tall trees in the loams of river margins, and they display striking variation in their fire survival strategies and floral and foliar morphologies. We examine the weight of both previously published (most trnL intron, trnL/F spacer, and rpl16 intron data) and new (matK, atpB, and waxy data, as well as most ITS data) DNA sequence evidence for the paraphyly of Banksia with respect to a monophyletic Dryandra (93 spp.). The nuclear waxy gene appears to be at two loci in the Proteaceae, and sequences presumably from the same locus resolve Banksia as paraphyletic with respect to Dryandra. The waxy and combined chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) data reject the monophyly of Banksia at a threshold of P = 0.05 using the winning sites and Kishino–Hasegawa tests. We consider this result and the repeated placement of Dryandra in the same clade (/Cryptostomata) of Banksia with each separate analysis of the DNA datasets (cpDNA, ITS, and waxy), to be strong molecular support for the paraphyly of Banksia with respect to Dryandra. The morphological synapomorphy of beaked follicles for /Cryptostomata (including Dryandra) reinforces this conclusion. We argue that realignment of taxa to produce one or more monophyletic genera is best attained by moving the taxa of Dryandra to Banksia. This would produce an easily recognised genus Banksia with four morphological synapomorphies. It would also probably confer some of the research attention garnered by the adaptive radiation of Banksia to the under-studied taxa of Dryandra, for Dryandra makes the radiation of Banksia even more remarkable.


We thank the organisers of this special issue of Australian Systematic Botany for the invitation to submit a manuscript and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Roberta Mason-Gamer suggested useful primer annealing sites for the waxy gene. D Sky Feller and Don Williams helped in the field, and Deborah Paul helped with GenBank submissions. The Florida State University (FSU) Department of Biological Science, College of Arts and Science, and Office of Research generously provided support for the project through the start-up budget of ARM. EJ was supported by an FSU Council on Research and Creativity Planning Grant to ARM.


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