Phylogeny of Gunnera
- Cite this article as:
- Wanntorp, L., Wanntorp, H., Oxelman, B. et al. Plant Syst. Evol. (2001) 226: 85. doi:10.1007/s006060170075
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The phylogeny of the genus Gunnera is investigated for the first time. Twelve species representing the six currently recognised subgenera are analysed. Two chloroplast DNA regions, the rbcL gene and the rps16 intron, together provide 46 informative characters out of 2335. A combined analysis of both genes gives four most parsimonious trees, firmly establishing the east South American G. herteri as sister group to the rest of the genus. The African G. perpensa is sister group to two well-supported clades, one including the South American subgenera Misandra and Panke, the other the Australian/New Zealand/Malayan species of subgenera Milligania and Pseudogunnera. Thus, South America is a composite area for Gunnera, showing up at two different levels in the cladogram. Our analysis supports a close biogeographic relationship between Australia and New Zealand. The evolution of some morphological characters is discussed. Lastly, the unusual structure of some of the rbcL sequences is reported.