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

Phylogeny, major clades and infrageneric classification of Corymbia (Myrtaceae), based on nuclear ribosomal DNA and morphology

Carlos Parra-O. A C , Michael J. Bayly A , Andrew Drinnan A , Frank Udovicic B and Pauline Ladiges A D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Botany, The University of Melbourne, Vic. 3010, Australia.

B Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Vic. 3141, Australia.

C Instituto de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, A. A. 7495, Bogotá, Colombia.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 22(5) 384-399
Submitted: 12 June 2009  Accepted: 2 September 2009   Published: 28 October 2009


Phylogenetic relationships of sections and species within Corymbia (Myrtaceae), the bloodwood eucalypts, were evaluated by using combined analyses of nuclear rDNA (ETS + ITS) and morphological characters. Combining morphological characters with molecular data provided resolution of relationships within Corymbia. The analyses supported the monophyly of the genus and recognition of the following two major clades, treated here as new subgenera: subgenus Corymbia, including informal sections recognised by Hill and Johnson (1995), namely Rufaria (red bloodwoods), Apteria and Fundoria; and subgenus Blakella, including sections Politaria (spotted gums), Cadagaria, Blakearia (paper-fruited bloodwoods or ghost gums) and Ochraria (yellow bloodwoods). Hill and Johnson’s section Rufaria is monophyletic if Apteria and Fundoria are included. It is evident that, among the red bloodwoods, series are not monophyletic and several morphological characters result from convergent evolution. There was strong morphological and molecular evidence that the three species of red bloodwoods that occur in south-western Western Australia (series Gummiferae: C. calophylla and C. haematoxylon, and series Ficifoliae: C. ficifolia) form a monophyletic group, separate from the eastern C. gummifera (series Gummiferae), which is probably sister to the clade of all other red bloodwoods. Phylogenetic results supported recognition of new taxonomic categories within Corymbia, and these are formalised here.


We thank Ken Hill, Peter Wilson and staff of the Mt Annan Botanic Gardens and Dean Nicolle, Currency Creek Arboretum, for access to collections and assistance. Eve Lucas and Peter de Lange provided advice on ETS primers for use in Myrtaceae. Carlos Parra-O. is grateful to The University of Melbourne for an International Postgraduate Scholarship, to the Albert Shimmin Memorial Fund of the Faculty of Sciences of The University of Melbourne, and to the Universidad Nacional de Colombia for its continuous support. This work was funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage grant, including financial support from the Maud Gibson Trust, RBG Melbourne and RBG Sydney.


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Appendix 1.  Sources of plant material and DNA sequences
Voucher specimens for all new sequences are held in the herbarium of The University of Melbourne (MELU). Abbreviations: AND, Andrew N. Drinnan; CCA, Currency Creek Arboretum (with numbers in brackets indicating row and plant numbers respectively of trees in the arboretum; Nicolle 2003); MABG, Mt Annan Botanic Garden; FU, Frank Udovicic; NSW, New South Wales; NT, Northern Territory; P, Parra-O. et al. (2006); PYL, Pauline Y. Ladiges; Qld, Queensland; S, Steane et al. (2002); U, Udovicic and Ladiges (2000); Vic., Victoria; WA, Western Australia. Authorities for species names are in Chippendale (1988; Angophora), Hill and Johnson (1995; Corymbia), and Brooker (2000; Eucalyptus)
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