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A preliminary phylogeny of the tribe Miconieae (Melastomataceae) based on nrITS sequence data and its implications on inflorescence position

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Miconieae is the most diverse tribe of Melastomataceae, with 30 genera and over 2200 species. The tribe is characterized by fleshy fruits and partially to totally inferior ovaries. To test monophyly of the tribe and assess phylogenetic relationships within it, sequence data from nrITS were gathered and analyzed for 110 taxa in Miconieae and 32 putative outgroups. The tribe Miconieae is not resolved as monophyletic, but rather composed of two distinct clades: one composed of the cauliflorous genera Henriettea, Henriettella, Loreya and Bellucia, and a second clade with all other taxa in Miconieae, sister to a polytomy that includes representatives from tribes Merianieae and Blakeeae. Terminal inflorescences are optimized as basal within Miconieae, with lateral inflorescences evolving in at least four different instances. Cauliflory does not appear to be derived from truly axillary inflorescences; instead it seems to have evolved independently. The terminal-flowered genera Tococa, Conostegia, Tetrazygia, Anaectocalyx, Charianthus, Calycogonium, and Leandra pro parte seem to be derived from within the large genus Miconia, as is Clidemia, a genus with both axillary inflorescences and terminal inflorescences that are deflexed to a lateral position by an axillary branch. Maieta and Necranium, both with axillary inflorescences, are resolved as derived from within Clidemia.
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Keywords: CAULIFLORY; INFLORESCENCES; ITS; MELASTOMATACEAE; MICONIEAE; PHYLOGENY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Systematic Studies, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York 10458, U.S.A. 2: Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 36211, U.S.A. 3: Department of Biology, Hunter College, The City University of New York, New York, U.S.A. 4: Department of Biology, Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio 44234, U.S.A. 5: Department of Biology, Albion College, Albion, Michigan 49224, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2004-05-01

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