Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 278, Issue 3–4, pp 239–249 | Cite as

Analysis of the genus Petagnaea Caruel (Apiaceae), using new molecular and literature data

  • Olga De Castro
  • Paola Cennamo
  • Paolo De Luca
Short Communication


In Southern Italy, an endemic monotypic genus belonging to family Apiaceae occurs: Petagnaea (P. gussonei), relict of Tertiary flora, belonging to subfamily Saniculoideae. At present, P. gussonei is an endangered species and is included in various lists of species deserving special protection. The genus belongs to scapose hemicryptophytes and shares a sciaphilous habitat (hygrophilous woodland). This study is aimed at doing a complete contribution about the evolutionary history of Petagnaea, using molecular markers as plastidial DNA (cpDNA), nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and data present in literature. We used nucleotide sequences from four regions of the chloroplast genome (rps16 intron, trnL(UAA) intron, atpB-rbcL intergenic spacer, and partial matK gene) to investigate possible haplotypes in Petagnaea populations. To have an idea of the molecular relationships of all populations of P. gussonei, the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences, already employed in recent studies, were obtained for 18 populations. These sequences in combination with other Saniculoideae ITS sequences available from GenBank have been used for a further phylogenetic analysis. The results agree with the current classification of Saniculoideae in placing P. gussonei in tribe Saniculeae, since P. gussonei is in basal position to Sanicula. According to intraspecific chloroplast DNA diversity, no different haplotypes were detected. In addition to molecular data, morphology, cytology, phytochemistry and conservation status have been considered in the discussion.


Apiaceae Endemic Mediterranean flora Nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) Petagnaea Phylogeny Plastidial DNA (cpDNA) Variability 



We gratefully acknowledge the Nando Peretti Foundation for funding the study. We would like to thank two anonymous Referees who greatly contributed to the improvement of the paper. A special thank to Mr. L. Paino and Dr. C. Marzano for technical help.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olga De Castro
    • 1
  • Paola Cennamo
    • 2
  • Paolo De Luca
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento delle Scienze Biologiche, Sez. Biologia VegetaleUniversità degli Studi di Napoli Federico IINaplesItaly
  2. 2.Conservazione dei Beni culturali, Facoltà di LettereUniversità degli Studi Suor Orsola BenincasaNaplesItaly

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