The Botanical Review

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 53–77 | Cite as

Multiple Events of Dispersal and Radiation of the Tribe Miconieae (Melastomataceae) in the Caribbean

  • F. A. Michelangeli
  • W. S. Judd
  • D. S. Penneys
  • J. D. SkeanJr.
  • E. R. Bécquer-Granados
  • R. Goldenberg
  • C. V. Martin


In the Caribbean region, the Melastomataceae are represented by about 450 species (from 28 genera), close to 400 of them endemic. The majority of these endemic species (approximately 330) belong to the tribe Miconieae, a monophyletic group characterized by flowers with inferior or partly inferior ovaries that develop into baccate fruits, stamens with no or only poorly developed connective appendages, and the absence of megastyloids and imbricate bracts at the base of the flowers. A phylogenetic analysis of 460 accessions from 450 species of the tribe Miconieae, including 139 present in the Antilles (103 of these endemic), was performed based on nuclear (nrITS) and plastid (ndhF) DNA sequence data. This analysis shows that most of the Caribbean endemics are the product of five radiation events: (1) a clade containing the Caribbean endemic (or near-endemic) genera Pachyanthus, Calycogonium, Tetrazygia and Charianthus, as well as a few representatives of Miconia and Leandra. (2) The genus Mecranium. (3) The Caribbean species of Miconia section Chaenopleura (which are probably not the sister group of Andean Chaenopleura). (4) The Greater Antillean species of Clidemia and Ossaea (including Sagraea). (5) The Lesser Antillean representatives of Clidemia. Caribbean endemics that are more closely related to mainland species, rather than other Caribbean species are rare, and these often are segregates of widespread continental species. Because of a lack of resolution at the base of several clades, it is currently not possible to determine which mainland groups are the closest relatives of these Caribbean endemics, thus preventing us from establishing unequivocally the geographical origins of these species.


Dispersal Radiation Tribe Miconieae 


En la región del Caribe la familia Melastomataceae está representada por cerca de 450 especies (de 28°géneros), 400 de ellas endémicas. La mayoría de estas especies (approximately 330) pertenecen a la tribu Miconieae, un grupo monofilético caracterizado por flores con ovario parcial o totalmente ínfero que se desarrollan en frutos bayados, estambres con apéndices ausentes o poco desarrollados, ausencia de mega estiloides, y la ausencia de brácteas imbricadas en la base del as flores. Se realizó un análisis filogenético basado en secuencias nucleares (nrITS) de cloroplasto (ndhF) para la tribu Miconieae. El análisis incluyó 460 individuos, representando 450 especies de la tribu, de las cuales 139 están presentes en el Caribe (103 de estas endémicas). El análisis muestra que la mayoría de las especies endémicas del Caribe son producto de cinco eventos de radiación: (1) Un clado que contiene los géneros endémicos (o casi endémicos) Pachyanthus, Calycogonium, Tetrazygia y Charianthus, así como representantes de Miconia y Leandra. (2) El género Mecranium. (3) las especies Antillanas de Miconia sección Chaenopleura. (4) Las especies de las Antillas mayores de Clidemia y Ossaea (incluyendo Sagraea). (5) Las especies de las Antillas menores de Clidemia. Especies endémicas del Caribe que son hermanas o que están cercanamente relacionadas con especies del continente, y no con especies de la región son raras, y generalmente son segregadas de especies de amplia distribución. Debido a la falta de resolución en la base de muchos de estos clados en este estudio, en este momento no es posible determinar con precisión que grupos presentes en el continente son hermanos a los grupos del Caribe, por lo que no es posible establecer los orígenes geográficos de la mayoría de grupos endémicos.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. A. Michelangeli
    • 1
  • W. S. Judd
    • 2
  • D. S. Penneys
    • 2
  • J. D. SkeanJr.
    • 3
  • E. R. Bécquer-Granados
    • 4
  • R. Goldenberg
    • 5
  • C. V. Martin
    • 1
  1. 1.The New York Botanical GardenBronxUSA
  2. 2.Department of BotanyUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Albion CollegeAlbionUSA
  4. 4.Jardín Botánico NacionalUniversidad de La HabanaHavanaCuba
  5. 5.Universidade Federal do ParanaCuritibaBrazil

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