Molecular phylogeny of Nyctaginaceae: taxonomy, biogeography, and characters associated with a radiation of xerophytic genera in North America.
The four o'clock family (Nyctaginaceae) has a number of genera with unusual morphological and ecological characters, several of which appear to have a "tendency" to evolve repeatedly in Nyctaginaceae. Despite this, the Nyctaginaceae have attracted little attention from botanists. To produce a phylogeny for the Nyctaginaceae, we sampled 51 species representing 25 genera (of 28-31) for three chloroplast loci (ndhF, rps16, rpl16, and nrITS) and included all genera from North America. Parsimony, likelihood, and Bayesian methods were used to reconstruct the phylogeny for the family. The family is neotropical in origin. A radiation of woody taxa unites Pisonia and Pisoniella with the difficult tropical genera Neea and Guapira, which also form a clade, though neither appears to be monophyletic. This group is sister to a clade containing Bougainvillea, Belemia, and Phaeoptilum. A dramatic radiation of genera occurred in the deserts of North America. The tribe Nyctagineae and its subtribes are paraphyletic, due to over-reliance on a few homoplasious characters, i.e., pollen morphology and involucre presence. Two notable characters associated with the desert radiation are cleistogamy and edaphic endemism on gypsum soils. We discuss evolutionary trends in these traits in light of available data about self-incompatibility and gypsum tolerance in Nyctaginaceae.
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