New insights into variation, evolution and taxonomy of fairy lanterns (Thismia, Thismiaceae) with four new species from Borneo

Abstract

Fairy lanterns (Thismia Griff.) is a genus of poorly known mycoheterotrophic plants with unclear infrageneric classification. Commonly used approaches that utilize just a single or few traits in higher-level taxonomy lead to an apparently artificial system. In this contribution, four new species from Sarawak, northern Borneo, are described and illustrated. Thismia acuminata, T. laevis and T. nigra belong undoubtedly to section Sarcosiphon. Thismia viridistriata exhibits a high morphological variability with some individuals fitting section Scaphiophora based on the presence of a column on the top of the mitre, but otherwise perfectly matching the morphological characteristic of section Sarcosiphon. Five-locus (SSU, ITS, LSU, matR, atpA) phylogeny inference revealed paraphyly or polyphyly in the studied infrageneric taxa and showed that the importance of some traits traditionally used in Thismia taxonomy was overestimated. Most of the markers provide comparable phylogenetic signal; LSU performs best and is highly recommended for further phylogenetic studies. On the other hand, ITS is hypervariable and thus informative only within (sub)sections, as well as on intraspecific level, as proven in T. viridistriata with two distinct ITS (and also LSU and matR) alleles and two morphotypes within a small geographic area, which leads to an assumption of strong reproductive isolation even among nearby populations. For delimitation of species, the key trait appears to be the structure of the connective and any of the molecular markers used here.

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Acknowledgements

We thank John Rian Pasan and David Attu for guiding services, Nur Afiza Binti Umar (Sarawak Forestry Department) for providing us with all the permits, Zuzana Egertová for field assistance and staff of SAR herbarium, particularly Nur Safinas Binti Jelani, for kind cooperation. We are also grateful to Renata Melichárková for line drawings. MH was supported by the project no. IGA PrF-2018-001 from the Internal Grant Agency of the Palacký University, and MS was supported by Grant No. LO1204 (Sustainable development of research in the Centre of the Region Haná) from the National Program of Sustainability I, MEYS. The research was conducted under the permit No. NCCD.907.4.4(JLD.13)-337 issued by Sarawak Forestry Department.

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Correspondence to Michal Sochor.

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Handling editor: Christian Parisod.

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Information on Electronic Supplementary Material

Online Resource 1. List of genbank accessions used in phylogeny reconstruction, list of specimens used for molecular analyses with collection data and alleles detected at each locus, and a map of collections.

Online Resource 2. Pairwise genetic distance among alleles detected in the reduced sample set.

Online Resource 3. Phylogenetic trees computed from each locus separately and supplementary trees from multilocus data.

Online Resource 4. Sequence alignments used for the analyses.

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Sochor, M., Hroneš, M. & Dančák, M. New insights into variation, evolution and taxonomy of fairy lanterns (Thismia, Thismiaceae) with four new species from Borneo. Plant Syst Evol 304, 699–721 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00606-018-1504-5

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Keywords

  • Fairy lanterns
  • Kelabit Highlands
  • Mycoheterotrophy
  • Pulong Tau
  • Sarcosiphon
  • Thismia