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A Phylogeny of the Violaceae (Malpighiales) Inferred from Plastid DNA Sequences: Implications for Generic Diversity and Intrafamilial Classification

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The Violaceae consist of 1,000‐1,100 species of herbs, shrubs, lianas, and trees that are placed in 22 recognized genera. In this study we tested the monophyly of genera with a particular focus on the morphologically heterogeneous Rinorea and Hybanthus, the second and third most species-rich genera in the family, respectively. We also investigated intrafamilial relationships in the Violaceae with taxon sampling which included all described genera and several unnamed generic segregates. Phylogenetic inference was based on maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian analyses of DNA sequences from the trnL/trnL‐F and rbcL plastid regions for 102 ingroup accessions. Results from phylogenetic analyses showed Rinorea and Hybanthus to be polyphyletic, with each genus represented by three and nine clades, respectively. Results also showed that most intrafamilial taxa from previous classifications of the Violaceae were not supported. The phylogenetic inferences presented in this study illustrate the need to describe new generic segregates and to reinstate other genera, as well as to revise the traditionally accepted intrafamilial classification, which is artificial and principally based on the continuous and homoplasious character state of floral symmetry.

Keywords: Non-monophyletic genus; Rinorea; Viola; rbcL; trnL/trnL‐F; zygomorphy

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2014

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