Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 304, Issue 6, pp 775–791 | Cite as

Systematic and phylogenetic implications of the wood anatomy of six Neotropical genera of Primulaceae

  • Bruna N. de Luna
  • Maria de F. Freitas
  • Claudia F. Barros
Original Article


Our main goals were to identify diagnostic characters at the species, genus, and subfamily levels, find anatomical features with potential for future morphological and molecular (combined) phylogenetic analyses, and to reconstruct the evolution of wood anatomical characters in two subfamilies of Primulaceae in a molecular phylogenetic framework. We investigated twenty-seven species from the woody Myrsinoideae (4 genera) and Theophrastoideae (2 genera) using scanning electron, light, and epifluorescence microscopy. Samples were prepared using standard protocols. Based on the wood anatomical characters, we were able to identify synapomorphies and to detect evolutionary trends of interest for the genera and subfamilies. Both subfamilies share the presence of diffuse porosity, simple perforation plates, septate fibres, and scanty paratracheal axial parenchyma. Theophrastoideae species have rays > 10 cells wide and short (< 350 µm) vessel elements, and Myrsinoideae have breakdown areas in rays and longer vessel elements. Ardisia and Stylogyne have scalariform intervessel pits, Myrsine exhibit breakdown areas in rays, and two Cybianthus species from subgenus Weilgetia have distinguishing features (e.g., scalariform perforation plate in C. nemoralis and the absence of rays in C. densiflorus). Overall, when combining characters, we were able to segregate the Neotropical Primulaceae subfamilies and genera from each other and from the subfamily Maesoideae based on wood anatomy.


Amazonia Character optimization Myrsinoideae Primuloid clade Raylessness 



We thank the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ) for financial support. C.F.B. received grants from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq). We thank Zeiss for the opportunity to use the Axio Imager 2 equipment. We also thank anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

606_2018_1509_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (556 kb)
Online Resource 1 Matrix of wood anatomical characters used in the PCA. Data obtained from the present work and from Lens et al. (2005a). (PDF 555 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, Diretoria de Pesquisa CientíficaRio de JaneiroBrazil

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