Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 304, Issue 2, pp 185–203 | Cite as

Phylogenetic species delimitation unravels a new species in the genus Sclerorhachis (Rech.f.) Rech.f. (Compositae, Anthemideae)

  • Hajar Hassanpour
  • Hassan Zare-MaivanEmail author
  • Ali SonboliEmail author
  • Shahrokh Kazempour-Osaloo
  • Florian Wagner
  • Salvatore Tomasello
  • Christoph Oberprieler
Original Article


Sclerorhachis is a small genus and belongs to subtribe Handeliinae of tribe Anthemideae (Compositae). While according to the Flora Iranica only two species of the genus are indicated for Iran (i.e. S. platyrachis and S. leptoclada), the genus constitutes a taxonomically very interesting group here due to the presence of several isolated populations deviating from others morphologically. In the present study, we have used phylogenetic analyses as well as sequence-based species delimitation methods for clarifying species boundaries in Sclerorhachis. We used sequence information from the nrDNA regions ITS (ITS1–5.8S–ITS2) and ETS along with the plastid intergenic spacer region rpl32–trnL(UAG) in an array of sequence-based species delimitation methods: (1) the Bayesian implementation of generalised mixed Yule-coalescent (bGMYC) model and (2) a Bayesian implementation of the Poisson tree processes (bPTP) method. We compared the results of these methods with species delimitations derived from the statistical parsimony networks constructed with TCS and the application of a monophyletic species concept. When the results of phylogeny-based methods, species delimitation approaches, and morphological evidences are jointly considered, our study supports the classification of S. leptoclada as an independent species and reveals a new species of Sclerorhachis in the Binalud Mountains (described as S. binaludensis). It also indicates a new record of the species S. caulescens (formerly only known from Afghanistan) for Iran. Additionally, a morphologically deviating and phylogenetically independent population group of S. platyrachis was found along the NE boundary of Iran, which is considered being conspecific with the Turkmenistan species S. kjurendaghi. As a consequence, the present study indicates that Sclerorhachis is represented in the territory of Iran by five independent, evolutionary significant units (i.e. species).


Molecular phylogeny Morphological characters Sclerorhachis Species delimitation 



This work is financially supported by the research council of the University of Tarbiat Modares through a Ph.D. student fellowship of the first author. We gratefully acknowledge the help of the FUMH staff, especially Mr. Mohammad Raza Joharchi and Dr. Farshid Memariani (Mashhad, Iran) along with Mrs. Maryam Etemad for support with morphological data in the MPH herbarium, and also special thanks are given to Dr. Ernst Vitek (Vienna, Austria) and Dr. Andreas Fleischmann (Munich, Germany) for providing herbarium specimens as well as to Dr. Manuela Bog for support with the analysis of data, along with Mrs. Nicole Schmelzer for technical support in the molecular laboratory of CO at Regensburg University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

606_2017_1461_MOESM1_ESM.txt (51 kb)
Online Resource 1 Alignment of concatenated nrDNA ITS+ETS sequences in nexus format. Gaps coded as absent=“0”, present=“1”, and unknown=“N” (TXT 50 kb)
606_2017_1461_MOESM2_ESM.txt (42 kb)
Online Resource 2 Alignment of cpDNA rpl32-trnL (UAG) sequences in nexus format. Gaps coded as absent=“0”, present=“1”, and unknown=“N” (TXT 42 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology, Faculty of Biological SciencesTarbiat Modares UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research InstituteShahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Evolutionary and Systematic Botany Group, Institute of Plant SciencesUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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