Kew Bulletin

, 74:30 | Cite as

Phylogeny of the tribe Marsdenieae (Apocynaceae), reinstatement of Ruehssia and the taxonomic treatment of the genus in Brazil

  • Fabio da Silva do Espírito SantoEmail author
  • Alessandro Rapini
  • Patrícia Luz Ribeiro
  • Sigrid Liede-Schumann
  • David J. Goyder
  • Jorge Fontella-Pereira


The Marsdenieae (Asclepiadoideae, Apocynaceae) comprise approximately 750 species and 26 accepted genera, half of which contain just one or two species. The tribe has been under-represented in phylogenetic studies to date, most of which have focussed on the ornamental paleotropical genus Hoya and related genera. American Marsdenieae are all currently classified in Marsdenia, a heterogeneous genus with about 150 species distributed in the tropics and subtropics and whose broad circumscription has been questioned for a long time. Here, we perform phylogenetic analyses comprising half of the tribe's genera and using two plastid (trnL-F and psbD-trnT) and two nuclear (ITS and ETS) regions. Our analyses show that the American species of Marsdenia are monophyletic but not closely related to M. tinctoria, the type of the genus. Thus, we reinstate Ruehssia H.Karst. to classify this American clade of Marsdenieae. We present a taxonomic revision of the genus in Brazil, with 42 species (one with two varieties) recognised. Other than R. macrophylla, the type of Ruehssia, all names are new combinations. One new synonym is proposed and 10 lectotypes and two neotypes are selected. All species are described and illustrated, together with comments and distribution maps for their occurrence in Brazil.

Key Words

Asclepiadoideae Marsdenia New World phylogenetics systematics taxonomy 



This work is part of the first author’s PhD thesis, developed at Universidade Estadual de Feira de Santana with a CNPq scholarship and support from the projects Reflora (CAPES and CNPq), Young Scientist (FAPESB No. JCB0049 / 2016) and Universal (CNPq No. 485468 / 2013-1). We thank Danilo J. L. Sousa, for preparing the maps and helping to prepare the figures. AR is a CNPq Pq-1D reseacher.

Supplementary material

12225_2019_9807_Fig35_ESM.png (350 kb)
Figure S1.

Phylogenetic reconstruction of Marsdenieae from Bayesian inference analysis with plastid data (trnL-F and psbD-trnT). Above the branches, the posterior probability of clades (≥ 0.75). (PNG 350 kb)

12225_2019_9807_MOESM1_ESM.tif (3.5 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 3550 kb)
12225_2019_9807_Fig36_ESM.png (285 kb)
Figure S2.

Phylogenetic reconstruction of Marsdenieae from Bayesian inference analysis with nuclear (ITS and ETS) data. Above the branches, the posterior probability of clades (≥ 0.75) with nuclear data. (PNG 285 kb)

12225_2019_9807_MOESM2_ESM.tif (3.5 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 3588 kb)
12225_2019_9807_MOESM3_ESM.docx (74 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 73 kb)


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© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Formação em Tecno-Ciências e InovaçãoUniversidade Federal do Sul da BahiaItabunaBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-graduação em Botânica, Departamento de Ciências BiológicasUniversidade Estadual de Feira de SantanaFeira de SantanaBrazil
  3. 3.Centro de Ciências Agrárias, Ambientais e BiológicasUniversidade Federal do Recôncavo da BahiaCruz das AlmasBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Plant SystematicsUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  5. 5.HerbariumRoyal Botanic Gardens, KewRichmondUK
  6. 6.Departamento de Botânica, Setor de FanerógamasMuseu Nacional-UFRJRio de JaneiroBrazil

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