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A new classification of Colchicaceae

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A recent molecular study of Colchicaceae showed four of the 19 genera and two of the five tribes to be paraphyletic. The genus Colchicum is nested within Androcymbium, Onixotis constitutes a grade between Neodregea and Wurmbea, Gloriosa is intermixed with species of Littonia, and Burchardia forms a grade sister to the rest of the family. The current classification of Colchicaceae is discussed and a revised classification is presented, based on the primary principle of monophyly. The recognition of subfamily Wurmbaeoideae for the cormous genera results in a paraphyletic Uvularioideae unless a further two or three subfamilies are recognized among the rhizomatous members of the family. This is not justified in such a small family. A revised tribal taxonomy is presented, recognizing six morphologically diagnosable, monophyletic clades at tribal level. The tribes were defined to maximize nomenclatural and taxonomic stability. Three emended tribes, Anguillarieae, Colchiceae and Iphigenieae, are recognized in the wurmbaeoid clade. The uvularioid grade is divided into Uvularieae and two new tribes, Burchardieae and Tripladenieae. The genus Burchardia is probably paraphyletic and further tribes may be required to accommodate segregates pending analysis of all species in the genus. The genera Neodregea and Onixotis are included within a widened circumscription of Wurmbea, defined by an ebracteate, spiciform inflorescence and three leaves. The genus Littonia is included within an expanded Gloriosa, distinguished by a stoloniferous corm, opposite or verticillate lower leaves, yellow to orange flowers, and more or less fleshy seeds. The necessary new combinations in these two genera are provided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden 2: Compton Herbarium, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Private Bag X7, Cape Town, 7735, South Africa

Publication date: 01 February 2007

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