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Further disintegration and redefinition of Clerodendrum (Lamiaceae): Implications for the understanding of the evolution of an intriguing breeding strategy

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The genus Clerodendrum s.l. is polyphyletic. Although recent studies have resulted in C. subg. Cyclonema and C. sect. Konocalyx being removed to the resurrected genus Rotheca, and the unispecific genus Huxleya being sunk into Clerodendrum, it has been unclear whether Clerodendrum as currently circumscribed is monophyletic, particularly in relation to the American genera Aegiphila, Amasonia, and Tetraclea. This phylogenetic study employs four relatively fast-evolving chloroplast DNA regions, trnT-L, trnL-F, trnD-T, and trnS-fM, to clarify the generic boundaries of Clerodendrum and its relationship to allied genera. The results corroborate previous studies that there are three well-supported clades in the currently recognized Clerodendrum: an Asian clade, an African clade, and a Pantropical Coastal clade. The Asian clade and African clade are sister groups and together form a monophyletic group. However, the Pantropical Coastal clade is more closely related to the three American genera than it is to the other two Clerodendrum clades. In addition, a Caribbean species, C. spinosum, is found to be more closely related to the American genera than it is to any of the three major Clerodendrum groups. These results indicate that Clerodendrum as currently circumscribed is not monophyletic. We propose to separate the Pantropical Coastal clade and C. spinosum by reviving the genera Volkameria (including Huxleya) and Ovieda, respectively for these, and to restrict Clerodendrum to the Asian and African clades. Brief descriptions of the genera to be recognized are provided. All Neotropical 'Clerodendrum' taxa are referred to other genera, necessitating six new combinations, which are also provided, where required, for two other well-studied Old World Volkameria species; all names ever used in Ovieda are given their modern placings (two placed newly in synonymy). The study also sheds light on the evolution of an intriguing breeding strategy that avoids self-pollination or/and sexual interference. This strategy involves presentation of pollen and stigma in the centre of the flower in a sequential fashion by moving the filaments and style. It appears to have evolved in the common ancestor of Clerodendrum, Volkameria, Ovieda, Amasonia, Tetraclea, Aegiphila and Kalaharia, and still occurs in all of these taxa except Aegiphila, where it has been succeeded by a heterostylous system.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box 355325, Seattle, Washington 98195-5325, U.S.A.; Current address: 4504 Miller Plant Sciences Building, Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602, U.S.A. 2: University of Washington Botanic Gardens, College of Forest Resources, Box 354115, Seattle, Washington 98195-4115, U.S.A.; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, U.K. 3: School of Plant Science, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart, Tasmania 7001, Australia 4: Department of Biology, University of Washington, Box 355325, Seattle, Washington 98195-5325, U.S.A.

Publication date: February 1, 2010


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