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Phylogenetic relationships of Caralluma R. Br. (Apocynaceae)

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In this paper we investigate phylogenetic relationships for Caralluma R. Br. (Apocynaceae-Asclepiadoideae-Ceropegieae), the largest genus among the stapeliads, using analyses of data from four molecular markers: two plastid regions psbA-trnH and trnT-F and two nuclear regions ITS and ncpGS. Our analyses show that the stapeliads consist of two lineages, with Caralluma dominating one of these lineages. Within this lineage, Caralluma is not monophyletic, with its species distributed among two major clades. One of these clades contains species of Caralluma and representatives of Anomalluma Plowes, Echidnopsis Hook. f. and Rhytidocaulon P.R.O. Bally, while in the other clade the small genera Edithcolea N.E. Br., Frerea Dalz. and Pseudolithos P.R.O. Bally are embedded among species of Caralluma. We discuss morphological features that characterize some of the clades. Caralluma is mainly paleotropical in its distribution and is the most widely distributed group among the stapeliads, from the Canary Islands in Macaronesia to the Indian subcontinent. We show that the Indian subcontinent has been invaded four times by species of Caralluma, while its greatest diversity is found in North-East Africa and southern Arabia.
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Keywords: APOCYNACEAE; BIOGEOGRAPHY; CARALLUMA; DNA SEQUENCE DATA; PHYLOGENY

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa;, Email: [email protected] 2: Bolus Herbarium, University of Cape Town, 7701 Rondebosch, South Africa

Publication date: 01 August 2010

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