Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 302, Issue 3, pp 319–332 | Cite as

Phylogenetic placement of the enigmatic fern genus Trichoneuron informs on the infra-familial relationship of Dryopteridaceae

  • Hong-Mei Liu
  • Xian-Chun Zhang
  • Mei-Ping Wang
  • Hui Shang
  • Shi-Liang Zhou
  • Yue-Hong Yan
  • Xue-Ping Wei
  • Wen-Bin Xu
  • Harald Schneider
Original Article


The taxonomic status and phylogenetic placement of the monotypic genus Trichoneuron is studied using DNA sequences of three plastid-coding genes. Trichoneuron was originally assigned to Thelypteridaceae but has been considered to be a synonym of Lastreopsis in recent treatments. In this study, the proposed relationship of Trichoneuron to Lastreopsis was tested using a comprehensive taxa sampling of Dryopteridaceae. Our results strongly support the recognition of Trichoneuron as a distinct genus belonging to Dryopteridaceae. Trichoneuron does not group together with Lastreopsis. Instead the genus was found to be sister to the Neotropical genus Polystichopsis. This sister relationship is supported by the occurrence of long pluricellular hairs attached to the rachis of both genera. The morphological distinction of Trichoneuron from Lastreopsis is backed by the structure of the adaxial groove of rachis-costa junction and the hairs at abaxial side of leaf axes. The PolystichopsisTrichoneuron clade was found to form the sister clade to an entirely Neotropical clade comprising Polybotrya and its relatives. The new subfamily Polybotryoideae is introduced based on the presented observations. In turn, the newly recovered sister relationship between Polystichopsis and Trichoneuron provides evidence for geographic disjunctions involving the Caribbean islands and the Indo–Burma biodiversity hotspot.


Disjunct distribution Lastreopsis Leaf indumentum Paraphyletic Polystichopsis Rachis-costa architecture Subfamily 



The authors are grateful to Zhao-Rong He (Yunnan University) for helping get the topotypus images of Trichoneuron microlepioides from PYU, Danielle Cicuzza (Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, CAS), Ri-Hong Jiang (Guangxi Forestry Company) for sharing materials and Ran Wei (Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences) for helpful discussion. We thank the editor Jochen Heinrichs and two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions and comments. This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31300183), the Scientific Research Project of Shenzhen Urban Management Bureau (No. 201312), and the state-sponsored overseas academic visiting scholarship program to Hong-Mei Liu (201308440224).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

We declare we have no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

606_2015_1265_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (189 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 189 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hong-Mei Liu
    • 1
  • Xian-Chun Zhang
    • 2
  • Mei-Ping Wang
    • 1
  • Hui Shang
    • 3
  • Shi-Liang Zhou
    • 2
  • Yue-Hong Yan
    • 3
  • Xue-Ping Wei
    • 2
  • Wen-Bin Xu
    • 4
  • Harald Schneider
    • 5
  1. 1.Shenzhen Key Laboratory of Southern Subtropical Plant Diversity, Fairylake Botanical GardenShenzhen and Chinese Academy of SciencesShenzhenChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Chenshan Botanical Garden, Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research CenterChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  4. 4.Wuhan Botanical GardenChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  5. 5.Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK

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