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

The phylogeny, biogeography and morphological evolution of Gaultheria (Ericaceae) from Australia and New Zealand

Catherine M. Bush A D , Steven J. Wagstaff B , Peter W. Fritsch C and Kathleen A. Kron A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109, USA.

B Allen Herbarium, Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand.

C California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California 94118-4503, USA.

D Corresponding author. Email: bushcm3@wfu.edu

Australian Systematic Botany 22(4) 229-242 https://doi.org/10.1071/SB08049
Submitted: 12 November 2008  Accepted: 30 April 2009   Published: 31 August 2009

Abstract

Phylogenetic relationships within Gaultheria L. from Australia and New Zealand were examined by using DNA sequence data from matK, ndhF, nrITS, waxy and lfy. In the combined parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses, all Australia/New Zealand species form a clade that is sister to a clade of temperate South American species. Optimisation of morphological characters that have been emphasised in classifications of Gaultheria onto the molecular phylogeny revealed that, within the Australia/New Zealand clade, non-fleshy fruiting calyces, berries and solitary-flowered inflorescences each evolved twice, from fleshy fruiting calyces, capsules and multiple-flowered inflorescences, respectively. A historical biogeographical analysis that included the temperate southern hemisphere element in Gaultheria supports a South American origin of the Australia/New Zealand clade, followed by three dispersal events from New Zealand to Australia. Whether the origin is from temperate or tropical South America is ambiguous in our analysis.


Acknowledgements

We acknowledge the financial support from Wake Forest University and the National Science Foundation (DEB-0717724; DEB-0717711). We thank the curators of the Allan Herbarium, the National Herbarium of New South Wales and the Tasmanian Herbarium for access to the databases and collections as well as the New Zealand Department of Conservation and Biodiversity Conservation Branch (Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment; Tasmania) for their helpful advice and for administering our collection permits. We also thank Darren Crayn for help in the field, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful manuscript suggestions.


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