, Volume 283, Issue 3-4, pp 165-177
Date: 25 Sep 2009

Phylogenetic relationships and infrageneric classification of Epidendrum subgenus Amphiglottium (Laeliinae, Orchidaceae)

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Epidendrum L. is the largest genus of Orchidaceae in the Neotropical region; it has an impressive morphological diversification, which imposes difficulties in delimitation of both infrageneric and interspecific boundaries. In this study, we review infrageneric boundaries within the subgenus Amphiglottium and try to contribute to the understanding of morphological diversification and taxa delimitation within this group. We tested the monophyly of the subgenus Amphiglottium sect. Amphiglottium, expanding previous phylogenetic investigations and reevaluated previous infrageneric classifications proposed. Sequence data from the trnL-trnF region were analyzed with both parsimony and maximum likelihood criteria. AFLP markers were also obtained and analyzed with phylogenetic and principal coordinate analyses. Additionally, we obtained chromosome numbers for representative species within the group. The results strengthen the monophyly of the subgenus Amphiglottium but do not support the current classification system proposed by previous authors. Only section Tuberculata comprises a well-supported monophyletic group, with sections Carinata and Integra not supported. Instead of morphology, biogeographical and ecological patterns are reflected in the phylogenetic signal in this group. This study also confirms the large variability of chromosome numbers for the subgenus Amphiglottium (numbers ranging from 2n = 24 to 2n = 240), suggesting that polyploidy and hybridization are probably important mechanisms of speciation within the group.