Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 301, Issue 1, pp 387–410 | Cite as

Phylogenetic relationships within Tillandsia subgenus Diaphoranthema (Bromeliaceae, Tillandsioideae) based on a comprehensive morphological dataset

  • Sabina Donadío
  • Raúl Pozner
  • Liliana M. Giussani
Original Article


Tillandsia subgenus Diaphoranthema (Tillandsioideae, Bromeliaceae) includes 29 epiphytic species distributed widely from southern North America to central Argentina and Chile. The species of Diaphoranthema are characterized by few small flowers, and most species are differentiated by phyllotaxy, leaf shape, flower number, and by the morphology and number of bracts. In addition to the highly variable vegetative characters, most species of subgenus Diaphoranthema possesses polyembryonic seeds (rare in Bromeliaceae) and an autogamous breeding system with a few number of species having cleistogamous flowers. In order to clarify relationships within Diaphoranthema and to understand the evolution of polyembryony, the breeding system, and diagnostic characters, a cladistic analysis of all known species using 85 morphological characters was conducted. Phylogenetic results suggest that Diaphoranthema is monophyletic if some species from the closely related subgenus Phytarrhiza are included. These two subgenera can only be distinguished from each other by the shape and size of their petals. A complete sampling of Phytarrhiza is still needed to test these hypotheses. None of the six informal groups as previously recognized are monophyletic. Vegetative characters such as phyllotaxy and the shape, length, and width of leaves were the most useful for distinguishing four major clades within Diaphoranthema. Flower number, scape development, exocarp and endocarp fusion at fruit ripening, and absence of endosperm in mature seeds were also used to distinguish some clades. Evolutionary trends favour a distichous phyllotaxy, linear shape leaf blades, and a reduction in flower number and bracts per inflorescence. In addition, capsules with disaggregating exocarp and endocarp at ripening, and polyembryonic seeds are also derived states within subgenus Diaphoranthema.


Phylogeny Tillandsia Diaphoranthema Morphology 



This study was presented at the Universidad de Buenos Aires as part of the PhD thesis of S. Donadío and supported by CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, Argentina) Doctoral fellowships. Field collections were supported by the Myndel Botanica Foundation. We thank BHCB, CORD, CTES, LIL, LPB, MCNS, SI, SGO, and WU for providing plant material. We are grateful to Dr. Till who kindly helped us throughout, providing information and type materials used in this study, Dr. Julian Starr for valuable comments on an early version of the manuscript, and Dr. Lynn Gillespie for the review of a revised version of the manuscript. We acknowledge two anonymous reviewers who contributed to improving this manuscript. Finally, we thank the staff of Darwinion Institute for providing technical and administrative support, Dieter Hollweck for german translations, and Roberto Donadío for assembling the list of materials.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabina Donadío
    • 1
  • Raúl Pozner
    • 1
  • Liliana M. Giussani
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de Botánica DarwinionSan IsidroArgentina

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