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Phylogenetic position of Wenchengia (Lamiaceae): A taxonomically enigmatic and critically endangered genus

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Abstract:

The phylogenetic position of the monotypic genus Wenchengia has long been controversial. It variously has been assigned to a monotypic subfamily Wenchengioideae, treated as a member of subfamily Scutellarioideae, or suggested to be related to Lamioideae or Ajugoideae. The recent rediscovery of Wenchengia alternifolia from its type locality provided an opportunity to infer its phylogenetic position using evidence from two plastid DNA regions (rbcL, ndhF), morphological data, and anatomical and cytological characters. Both the molecular data and a combination of the molecular and the morphological data suggested a close relationship of the genus to a clade consisting of Holmskioldia, Tinnea, and Scutellaria representing Scutellarioideae. This relationship is also supported by a striking similarity in gross morphological, anatomical, and cytological characters between Wenchengia and other genera of Scutellarioideae, suggesting that it should be more appropriate to treat the genus as a member of Scutellarioideae, rather than assigning it to a monotypic subfamily.

Keywords: CYTOLOGY; MOLECULAR SYSTEMATICS; MORPHOLOGY; NDHF; RBCL; SCUTELLARIOIDEAE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, Guangdong, China; Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China 2: Laboratory of Forest Ecology and Global Change, School of Life Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, Jiangsu, China 3: Key Laboratory of Plant Resources Conservation and Sustainable Utilization, South China Botanical Garden, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510650, Guangdong, China 4: Department of Biology and Burke Museum, University of Washington, Box 355325, Seattle, Washington 98195-5325, U.S.A. 5: Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of Botany, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, Yunnan, China 6: Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, Florida 33199, U.S.A. 7: Department of Environmental and Plant Biology, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio 45701-2979, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2012-04-13

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