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

Phylogeny and generic taxonomy of the New Zealand Pteridaceae ferns from chloroplast rbcL DNA sequences

Whitney L. M. Bouma A , Peter Ritchie A and Leon R. Perrie B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand.

B Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, PO Box 467, Wellington, New Zealand.

C Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Systematic Botany 23(3) 143-151
Submitted: 30 October 2009  Accepted: 17 March 2010   Published: 14 July 2010


Previous molecular phylogenetic studies of the species-rich Pteridaceae fern family have revealed that many of its constituent genera are not monophyletic. Within this context, we generated rbcL chloroplast DNA sequences for the 17 Pteridaceae species indigenous to New Zealand to assess how they are related to the type species of their genus. Of the five genera presently recognised in New Zealand, no taxonomic change is needed for the species of Anogramma, or, probably, of Cheilanthes and Pellaea. In contrast, most species presently attributed to Pteris, including those in New Zealand, probably do not belong there. The status of Adiantum remains unclear, although the New Zealand species are not especially closely related to the type species. The Adiantum species in New Zealand belong to a wide-ranging, principally southern hemisphere, clade that appears to be pivotal to resolving the relationships of Adiantum, although it has been little sampled. The closest relatives of the New Zealand species are in Australia and South America for Cheilanthes, Australia and South-east Asia for Pellaea, and the south-western Pacific for both of the Pteris lineages in New Zealand, whereas Anogramma leptophylla (L.) Link is subcosmopolitan.


We thank Peter Beveridge, Skip Bouma, Patrick Brownsey, Ewen Cameron, Ellen Cieraad, David Glenny, Richard Perrie, Lara Shepherd and Barry Sneddon for assistance with collecting samples, and Patrick Brownsey and anonymous reviewers for constructive comments that improved the manuscript. W. B. acknowledges the support of Te Papa’s MSc scholarship in Molecular Systematics.


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Appendix 1.  Samples included in analyses, with GenBank numbers
Herbarium accessions and collection localities are given for samples from which rbcL sequences were newly generated by the present study. New sequences for species indigenous to New Zealand are underlined
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