Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 264, Issue 3–4, pp 135–156 | Cite as

The phylogeny of the austral grass subfamily Danthonioideae: Evidence from multiple data sets

  • N. P. Barker
  • C. Galley
  • G. A. Verboom
  • P. Mafa
  • M. Gilbert
  • H. P. Linder


The grass subfamily Danthonioideae is one of the smaller in the family. We utilize DNA sequence data from three chloroplast regions (trnL, rpoC2 and rbcL) and one nuclear region (Internal Transcribed Spacer; ITS) both singly and in combination to elucidate the relationships of the genera in the subfamily. The topology retrieved by the ITS region is not congruent with that of the plastid data, but this conflict is not strongly supported. Nine well-supported clades are retrieved by all data sets. The relationships at the base of the subfamily are clearly established, comprising a series of three clades of Merxmuellera species. The earliest diverging clade probably does not belong in Danthonioideae. The other two clades are centered in the tropical African mountains and Cape mountains respectively. A clade of predominantly North and South American Danthonia species as well as D. archboldii from New Guinea is retrieved, but the African and Asian species of Danthonia are related to African species of Merxmuellera, thus rendering Danthonia polyphyletic. The relationships of the Danthonia clade remain equivocal, as do those of the two Cortaderia clades, the Pseudopentameris and Rytidosperma clades.


Danthonioideae Poaceae phylogeny cpDNA ITS Internal Transcribed Spacer Danthonia Cortaderia Merxmuellera 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alfaro, M. E., Zoller, S., Lutzoni, F. 2003Bayes or bootstrap? A simulation study comparing the performance of Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling and bootstrapping in assessing phylogenetic confidenceMolec. Biol. Evol.20255266PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Álvarez, I., Wendel, J. F. 2003Ribosomal ITS sequences and plant phylogenetic inferenceMolec. Phylogenet. Evol.29417434PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baeza, P. C. M. 1996Los géneros Danthonia D.C. y Rytidosperma Steud. (Poaceae) en América - una revisiónSendtnera31193Google Scholar
  4. Bailey, C. D., Carr, T. G., Harris, S. A., Hughes, C. F. 2003Characterization of angiosperm nrDNA polymorphism, paralogy, and pseudogenesMolec. Phylogenet. Evol.29435455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barker, N. P. 1993A biosystematic study of Pentameris (Arundineae, Poaceae)Bothalia232547Google Scholar
  6. Barker, N. P. 1994External fruit morphology of southern African Arundineae (Arundinoideae: Poaceae)Bothalia245566Google Scholar
  7. Barker, N. P., Linder, H. P., Harley, E. H. 1995Polyphyly of Arundinoideae (Poaceae): Evidence from rbcL sequence dataSyst. Bot.20423435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barker, N. P., Linder, H. P., Harley, E. H. 1999Sequences of the grass-specific insert in the chloroplast rpoC2 gene elucidate generic relationships of the Arundinoideae (Poaceae)Syst. Bot.23327350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barker, N. P., Morton, C. M., Linder, H. P. 2000

    The Danthonieae: generic composition and relationships

    Jacobs, S. W. L.Everett, J. eds. Grasses: Systematics and evolutionCSIROMelbourne221230
    Google Scholar
  10. Barker, N. P., Linder, H. P., Morton, C. M., Lyle, M. 2003The paraphyly of Cortaderia (Danthonioideae; Poaceae): Evidence from morphology, chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequence dataAnn. Missouri Bot. Gard.90124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bess, E. C., Doust, A. N., Kellogg, E. A. 2005A naked grass in the “bristle clade”: A phylogenetic and developmental study of Panicum section Bulbosa (Paniceae: Poaceae)Int. J. Pl. Sci.166371381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blattner, F. R. 2004Phylogenetic analysis of Hordeum (Poaceae) as inferred by nuclear rDNA ITS sequencesMolec. Phylogenet. Evol.33289299PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Catalán, P., Torrecilla, P., Rodríguez, J. A. L., Olmstead, R. G. 2004Phylogeny of the festucoid grasses of subtribe Loliinae and allies (Poeae, Pooideae) inferred from ITS and trnL-F sequencesMolec. Phylogenet. Evol.31517541PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Clayton, D. W., Renvoize, S. A. 1986Genera GraminumHer Majesty's Stationary OfficeLondonGoogle Scholar
  15. Connor, H. E. 1970Gynodioecism in Danthonia archboldiiAustral. J. Bot.18233236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Connor, H. E., Edgar, E. 1974Names and types in Cortaderia Stapf (Gramineae)Taxon23595605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Wet , J. M. J. 1987

    Hybridisatoin and polyploidy in the Poaceae

    Soderstrom, T. R.Hilu, K. W.Campbell, C. S.Barkworth, M. E. eds. Grass systematics and evolutionSmithsonian Institution PressWashington D.C.188194
    Google Scholar
  18. Duval, M. R., Noll, J., Minn, A. H. 2001Phylogenetics of Paniceae (Poaceae)Amer. J. Bot.8819881992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ellis, R. P. 1984Leaf anatomy of South African Danthonieae (Poaceae). IX. Asthenatherum glaucumBothalia15153159Google Scholar
  20. Galley C., Linder H.P. (2006) The phylogeny of Pentaschistis (Danthonioideae, Poaceae) based on cpDNA, and the evolution and loss of complex characters. Evolution (in press).Google Scholar
  21. GPWG (The Grass Phylogeny Working Group: Barker N. P., Clark L., Davis J. I., Duval M. R., Guala G., Hsiao C., Kellogg E. A., Linder H. P., Mason-Gamer R., Mathews S., Simmons M., Soreng R., Spangler R.) (2001) Phylogeny and subfamilial classification of the grasses (Poaceae). Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 88: 373–457.Google Scholar
  22. Guo, Y.-L., Ge, S. 2005Molecular phylogeny of Oryzeae (Poaceae) based on DNA sequences from chloroplast, mitochondrial, and nuclear genomesAmer. J. Bot.9215481558Google Scholar
  23. Hilu, K. W., Alice, L. A., Liang, H. 1999Phylogeny of Poaceae inferred from matK sequencesAnn. Missouri Bot. Gard.86835851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hsiao, C., Jacobs, S. W. L., Barker, N. P., Chatterton, N. J. 1998A molecular phylogeny of the subfamily Arundinoideae (Poaceae) based on sequences of rDNA (ITS)Austral. Syst. Bot.114152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huelsenbeck, J., Ronquist, F. 2001MrBayes: Bayesian Inference of phylogenetic treesBioinformatics17754755PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Källersjö, M., Albert, V. A., Farris, J. S. 1999Homoplasy increases phylogenetic structureCladistics159193Google Scholar
  27. Kellogg, E. A., Linder, H. P. 1995

    Phylogeny of Poales

    Rudall, P. J.Cribb, P. J.Cutler, D. F.Humphries, C. J. eds. Monocotyledons: Systematics and evolutionRoyal Botanic GardensKew511542
    Google Scholar
  28. Linder H. P. (2005) Danthonieae. In: Mallett W. W. (ed.) Flora of Australia 44B: 19–70.Google Scholar
  29. Linder, H. P., Barker, N. P. 2000

    Biogeography of the Danthonieae

    Jacobs, S. W. L.Everett, J. eds. Grasses: Systematics and evolutionCSIROMelbourne231238
    Google Scholar
  30. Linder, H. P., Barker, N. P. 2005From Nees to now – changing questions in the systematics of the grass subfamily DanthonioideaeNova Acta Leop.92, Nr 3422944Google Scholar
  31. Linder, H. P., Ellis, R. P. 1990aVegetative morphology and interfire survival strategies in the Cape fynbos grassesBothalia2091103Google Scholar
  32. Linder, H. P., Ellis, R. P. 1990bA revision of Pentaschistis (Arundineae: Poaceae)Contrib. Bol. Herb.121124Google Scholar
  33. Linder, H. P., Verboom, G. A. 1996Generic limits in the Rytidosperma (Danthonieae, Poaceae) complexTelopea6597628Google Scholar
  34. Mason-Gamer, R. J., Weil, C. F., Kellogg, E. A. 1998Granule-Bound Starch Synthase: Structure, function, and phylogenetic utilityMolec. Biol. Evol.1516581673PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Petersen, G., Seberg, O., Baden, C. 2004A phylogenetic analysis of the genus Psathyrostachys (Poaceae) based on one nuclear gene, three plastid genes, and morphologyPl. Syst. Evol.24999110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Razafimandimbison, S. G., Kellogg, E. A., Bremer, B. 2004Recent origin and phylogenetic utility of divergent ITS putative pseudogenes: a case study from the Naucleeae (Rubiaceae)Syst. Biol.53177192PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Swofford, D. L. 2000PAUP: Phylogenetic Analysis Using Parsimony. Version 4.0b10Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, D.CGoogle Scholar
  38. Taberlet, P., Gielly, L., Pautou, G., Bouvet, J. 1991Universal primers for amplification of three non-coding regions of chloroplast DNAPl. Molec. Biol.1711051109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Verboom, G. A., Linder, H. P., Barker, N. P. 1994Haustorial synergids: an important character in the systematics of Danthonioid grasses (Arundinoideae: Poaceae)Amer. J. Bot.8116011610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Verboom, G. A., Ntsohi, R., Barker, N. P. 2006Molecular phylogeny of African Rytidosperma-affiliated danthonioid grasses reveals generic polyphyly and convergent evolution in spikelet morphologyTaxon55337348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Watson, L., Dallwitz, M. J. 1992The grass genera of the worldC.A.B. InternationalCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Yonemori, K., Honsho, C., Kanzaki, S., Eiadthong, W., Sugiura, A. 2002Phylogenetic relationships of Mangifera species revealed by ITS sequences of nuclear ribosomal DNA and a possibility of their hybrid originPl. Syst. Evol.2315975CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. P. Barker
    • 1
  • C. Galley
    • 2
  • G. A. Verboom
    • 3
  • P. Mafa
    • 3
  • M. Gilbert
    • 1
  • H. P. Linder
    • 2
  1. 1.Molecular Ecology and Systematics Group, Dept. BotanyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Institute for Systematic BotanyZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Dept. BotanyUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations