Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 240, Issue 1, pp 11-39

First online:

Phylogenetic relationships and taxonomy of subfamily Zygophylloideae (Zygophyllaceae) based on molecular and morphological data

  • B.-A. BeierAffiliated withDepartment of Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology Centre. Uppsala University Email author 
  • , M. W. ChaseAffiliated withMolecular Systematics Section, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens
  • , M. ThulinAffiliated withDepartment of Systematic Botany, Evolutionary Biology Centre. Uppsala University

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Phylogenetic analysis of noncoding trnL plastid DNA sequences and morphological data for 43 species of Zygophylloideae, representing most of the morphological and geographical variation in the subfamily, indicates that the currently recognised genera Augea (monotypic, southern Africa), Tetraena (monotypic, China), and Fagonia (c. 30 species, widespread), are embedded in Zygophyllum (c. 150 species, widespread). A generic classification based on six monophyletic and morphologically distinctive entities is proposed: Roepera with c. 60 species in Australia and southern Africa, Zygophyllum with c. 50 species in Asia, Tetraena with c. 40 species in Africa and Asia, Augea with a single species in southern Africa, Melocarpum with two species in the Horn of Africa region, and Fagonia with c. 30 species in both the Old and the New World. Scanning electron microscopy studies of testa structure provided important characters for the delimitation of some genera. New combinations (61) are made in Roepera, a resurrected genus originally described from Australia, one new name is proposed in Zygophyllum, 35 new combinations are made in Tetraena, and two new combinations are made in Melocarpum (previously Zygophyllum sect. Melocarpum).


Zygophyllaceae Zygophylloideae Augea Fagonia Melocarpum Roepera Tetraena Zygophyllum plastid DNA trnL morphology phylogeny taxonomy