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Pliocene intercontinental dispersal from Africa to Southeast Asia highlighted by the new species Begonia afromigrata (Begoniaceae)

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A new Begonia species from Laos and Thailand is described. It belongs to Begonia sect. Tetraphila, along with 30 other species which are all endemic to Africa. This is the first record of any of the 65 currently accepted sections in Begonia transgressing continental borders. A dated molecular phylogeny places the split of the new Asian species from its African congeners during the late Miocene to the early Pleistocene. As the species is a hygromesophilous epiphyte limited to tropical forest, no suitable corridor for migration existed during that time and the cause of the Afro-Asian disjunction probably is a long-distance dispersal event. The discovery of B. afromigrata emphasises the importance of chance in the assembly of tropical floras.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity Naturalis (section NHN), Herbarium Vadense, Wageningen University, Generaal Foulkesweg 37, 6703 BL Wageningen, The Netherlands 2: Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 20a Inverleith Row, Edinburgh EH3 5LR, U.K.;, Email: 3: University of Turin, Viale P. A. Mattioli 25, 10125 Torino, Italy, Current address: Singapore Botanic Garden, 1 Cluny Road, Singapore 259569 4: School of Biological Sciences, University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam Road, Hong Kong, P.R. China

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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