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The genus Colchicum L. redefined to include Androcymbium Willd. based on molecular evidence

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A recent molecular analysis of the Colchicaceae has revealed that the genus Androcymbium is paraphyletic in relation to Colchicum and that the genus Merendera is polyphyletic. The implications of these results on the monophyly of the genera in this alliance are discussed. Two independent lineages within the paraphyletic Androcymbium are characterised by enlarged and brightly or contrastingly coloured bracts, which conceal the flowers. The tepals in these species are always cucullate. In the remaining lineages the flowers are more prominent and the tepals are mostly flat. No morphological characters can be identified that serve to diagnose the lineages in Androcymbium that are retrieved by the molecular analysis, and the only practical option is to include all species of Androcymbium within an expanded circumscription of Colchicum. The genus Colchicum in this expanded sense is defined by its short-stemmed or acaulescent habit, androecial nectaries, and 2–4-porate pollen. The necessary synonomy and new combinations are made.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Compton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Private Bag X7, Cape Town, 7735, South Africa 2: Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3DS, U.K. 3: Department of Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala Universitet, Norbyvägen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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