Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 117, Issue 3, pp 175–182 | Cite as

Taxonomic and phytogeographic implications from ITS phylogeny in Berberis (Berberidaceae)

  • Young-Dong KimEmail author
  • Sung-Hee Kim
  • Leslie R. Landrum
Original Article


A phylogeny based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences from 79 taxa representing much of the diversity of Berberis L. (four major groups and 22 sections) was constructed for the first time. The phylogeny was basically congruent with the previous classification schemes at higher taxonomic levels, such as groups and subgroups. A notable exception is the non-monophyly of the group Occidentales of compound-leaved Berberis (previously separated as Mahonia). At lower levels, however, most of previous sections and subsections were not evident especially in simple-leaved Berberis. Possible relationship between section Horridae (group Occidentales) and the simple-leaved Berberis clade implies paraphyly of the compound-leaved Berberis. A well-known South America-Old World (mainly Asia) disjunctive distribution pattern of the simple-leaved Berberis is explained by a vicariance event occurring in the Cretaceous period. The ITS phylogeny also suggests that a possible connection between the Asian and South American groups through the North American species (Berberis canadensis or B. fendleri) is highly unlikely.


Berberis ITS Mahonia Phylogeny Phytogeography Vicariance 



We thank Arnold Arboretum, Gray Herbarium, Edinburgh Botanical Garden, University of Texas Herbarium, Drs. J. Panero, and M. Chase for providing leaf or DNA materials, and Dr. C. Ulloa for identifying some South American species. This work was supported by grant (2000-2-201-00-001-2) from the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer-Verlag  2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Young-Dong Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sung-Hee Kim
    • 1
  • Leslie R. Landrum
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesHallym UniversityChunchonSouth Korea
  2. 2.School of Life SciencesArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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