Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 121, Issue 4, pp 365–376 | Cite as

A plastid gene phylogeny of the non-photosynthetic parasitic Orobanche (Orobanchaceae) and related genera

  • Jeong-Mi Park
  • Jean-François Manen
  • Alison E. Colwell
  • Gerald M. Schneeweiss
Regular Paper


The phylogenetic relationships of the non-photosynthetic Orobanche sensu lato (Orobanchaceae), which includes some of the economically most important parasitic weeds, remain insufficiently understood and controversial. This concerns both the phylogenetic relationships within the genus, in particular its monophyly or lack thereof, and the relationships to other holoparasitic genera such as Cistanche or Conopholis. Here we present the first comprehensive phylogenetic study of this group based on a region from the plastid genome (rps2 gene). Although substitution rates appear to be elevated compared to the photosynthetic members of Orobanchaceae, relationships among the major lineages Cistanche, Conopholis plus Epifagus, Boschniakia rossica (Cham. & Schltdl.) B. Fedtsch., B. himalaica Hook. f. & Thomson, B. hookeri Walp. plus B. strobilacea A. Gray, and Orobanche s. l. remain unresolved. Resolution within Orobanche, however, is much better. In agreement with morphological, cytological and other molecular phylogenetic evidence, five lineages, corresponding to the four traditionally recognised sections (Gymnocaulis, Myzorrhiza, Orobanche, Trionychon) and O. latisquama Reut. ex Boiss. (of sect. Orobanche), can be distinguished. A combined analysis of plastid rps2 and nuclear ITS sequences of the holoparasitic genera results in more resolved and better supported trees, although the relationships among Orobanche s. l., Cistanche, and the clade including the remaining genera is unresolved. Therefore, rps2 is a marker from the plastid genome that is well-suited to be used in combination with other already established nuclear markers for resolving generic relationships of Orobanche and related genera.


Boschniakia Holoparasitic plants Orobanchaceae Orobanche Phylogeny rps2-gene 



We thank all the people who helped collect material in the field. Financial support by the Austrian Science Fund (P14352-Bio; P19404-B03) and the Consevatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeong-Mi Park
    • 1
  • Jean-François Manen
    • 2
  • Alison E. Colwell
    • 3
  • Gerald M. Schneeweiss
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Systematic and Evolutionary BotanyUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Conservatoire et Jardin BotaniquesChambésy/GenéveSwitzerland
  3. 3.Western Ecological Research CenterUS Geological SurveyEl PortalUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biogeography and Botanical GardenUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria

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