Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 298, Issue 2, pp 431–444 | Cite as

Molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of Tanacetum L. (Compositae, Anthemideae) inferred from nrDNA ITS and cpDNA trnH–psbA sequence variation

  • Ali SonboliEmail author
  • Kathrin Stroka
  • Shahrokh Kazempour Osaloo
  • Christoph OberprielerEmail author
Original Article


The genus Tanacetum L. consists of around 160 species of the Compositae-Anthemideae. It holds a crucial position for understanding the phylogeny of the tribe and its subtribal and generic classification. The present study focuses on the phylogenetic relationships of the species and aims at a discussion of the infrageneric classification and boundaries of the genus. Sequence information from a nuclear [nuclear ribosomal DNA (nrDNA) internal transcribed spacer (ITS)] and a chloroplast marker [chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) trnH–psbA] was used to infer the phylogeny of Tanacetum and many representatives of closely related genera. Bayesian inference methods were used for the phylogenetic reconstructions based on a combined dataset including both sequence and indel information. Contrasting the high morphological diversity in the genus, sequence divergence among Tanacetum representatives included was found to be very low, leading to unresolved phylogenetic relationships within the genus. Nevertheless, the generic separation of Tanacetum from other members of subtribe Anthemidinae (i.e., Anthemis, Archanthemis, Cota, Nananthea, and Tripleurospermum) emerges, while other, presently accepted genera are found nested in Tanacetum (i.e., Gonospermum, Lugoa, and Xylanthemum). Finally, the phylogenetic independence of the SW European T. microphyllum from the rest of Tanacetum and the other genera of Anthemidinae is found to receive strong support and is also backed by its morphological uniqueness. The new genus Vogtia Oberpr. et Sonboli is described to accommodate Tanacetum microphyllum and the closely related species T. annuum. The sinking of Gonospermum, Lugoa, and Xylanthemum into a broadly circumscribed genus Tanacetum is proposed until more stable phylogenetic reconstructions based on more and more variable molecular markers are possible. Concerning the infrageneric classification of Tanacetum, the phylogeny does not support the separation of the white- and red-rayed species (the former genus Pyrethrum) from the discoid, disciform, or yellow-rayed ones (i.e., Tanacetum in the strict sense) at any infrageneric rank. The hypothesis by Tzvelev (1961) that the yellow-rayed representatives may have evolved from disciform ancestors receives little support.


Asteraceae Anthemideae cpDNA nrDNA Phylogeny Tanacetum Taxonomy Vogtia 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the curators of herbaria B, G, IRAN, M, MSB, MPH, S, TARI, and W for providing leaf material for DNA analysis. We would like to express our thanks to Dr. R. M. Lo Presti (Regensburg) for permission to include a number of cpDNA sequences of Anthemis and Cota in this study. Some of the nrDNA sequences were also established during a student training course by Birgit Blaul (Regensburg). Laboratory technical assistance of Miss K. Naderi (Teheran) and Mr. P. Hummel (Regensburg) and nomenclatural advice of Prof. Dr. W. Greuter (Berlin) is highly appreciated. This research was partly supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Shahid Beheshti University Research Council to A.S. and by the SYNTHESYS project of the EU to C.O. (SE-TAF-1084, AT-TAF-1731).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology, Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research InstituteShahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological SciencesTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Institute of BotanyUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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