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Phylogenetic placement of the Dominican Republic endemic genus Sarcopilea (Urticaceae)

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Abstract:

Since the first collection in 1910, botanists have recognized Sarcopilea (Urticaceae) as a dramatic example of con vergence with succulent woody members of Crassulaceae. Phylogenetic analyses based on nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS and the trnL-F non-coding plastid DNA regions place Sarcopilea in a Neotropical clade of Pilea. A study of the cystolith, pollen and achene morphology, and of hydathode, hydrenchyma, and stomata position was also performed, confirming the molecular results. Across Rosales, leaf succulence is restricted to the genera Pilea and Sarcopilea. Furthermore, all succulent species of Pilea have an abaxial water-storage hydrenchyma layer in their leaves, a condition unique to the genus. The conditions of adaxial stomata (epistomatic, hyperstomatic), as well as hydathodes restricted to the submarginal abaxial leaf surface, were found in all Neotropical leaf-succulent species. Carbon isotope-ratio mass spectroscopy shows Sarcopilea to have C3 photo synthesis, therefore Crassulacean acid metabolism is still unknown in Rosales. The impact of molecular systematics of Carib bean endemic genera is discussed. In light of the new phylogenetic placement of Sarcopilea, a replacement name is provided (Pilea fairchildiana).

Keywords: CAM; CARIBBEAN ISLANDS; CYSTOLITHS; EPISTOMATIC; HYDATHODES; HYPERSTOMATIC; PHYLOGENETICS; PILEA; SARCOPILEA; SUCCULENT; URTICACEAE

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida 33156, U.S.A.;, Email: bjestrow@fairchildgarden.org 2: Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida 33156, U.S.A., Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, České Budějovice, 37005, Czech Republic 3: Jardín Botánico Nacional, Apartado Postal 21-9, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic 4: Center for Tropical Plant Conservation, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, Coral Gables, Miami, Florida 33156, U.S.A., Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, U.S.A.

Publication date: 2012-06-13

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