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A re-examination of the taxonomic boundaries of Symphysia (Ericaceae)

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DNA sequence data were generated for the nuclear ITS region for Symphysia racemosa and for 26 additional Vaccinieae representing 12 sections in the genus Vaccinium plus one species from each of five additional segregate genera. Our focus is on the placement of S. racemosa relative to Vaccinium sensu stricto and Vaccinium sect. Oreades (represented by V. poasanum). Maximum parsimony analysis of 608 bp of nrITS region suggests that S. racemosa and V. poasanum form a well-supported clade in spite of substantial morphological divergence. Furthermore, this clade is a sister group to a clade consisting of all segregate genera examined. These molecular results led us to undertake a morphological cladistic analysis of all of the other Central American green-flowered taxa. We suggest that the genus Symphysia should be expanded to encompass these 15 taxa, despite the lack of phylogenetic resolution within this group. This will necessitate eight new combinations, viz., Symphysia almedae (= V. almedae), Symphysia costaricensis (= V. costaricense), Symphysia jefensis (= V. jefense), Symphysia orosiensis (= V. orosiense), Symphysia ovata (= Lateropora ovata), Symphysia perardua (= V. santafeënsis), Symphysia poasana (= Vaccinium poasanum), Symphysia santafeënsis (= L. santafeënsis), and Symphysia tubulifera (= L. tubulifera).


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6, Canada.

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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