Journal of Plant Research

, Volume 126, Issue 1, pp 17–32 | Cite as

Molecular phylogeny of Anaphalis (Asteraceae, Gnaphalieae) with biogeographic implications in the Northern Hemisphere

  • Ze-Long NieEmail author
  • Vicki Funk
  • Hang Sun
  • Tao Deng
  • Ying Meng
  • Jun Wen
Regular Paper


Anaphalis is the largest Asian genus in the tribe Gnaphalieae (Asteraceae) and has its greatest species diversity in the eastern Himalayas. The nuclear internal and external transcribed spacers were sequenced for Anaphalis species, with an emphasis on the eastern Himalayan taxa to examine the monophyly and construct the phylogenetic relationships of and within the genus. The results suggest that all species of Anaphalis are nested with Helichrysum, showing a close relationship with a Mediterranean–Asian group of Helichrysum. Although the monophyly of Anaphalis is only weakly supported, two clades within the genus are well recognized, each consisting of two subgroups. The inferred phylogenetic relationships within Anaphalis correspond to the shape of leaf base, rather than the morphology of the capitula and phyllaries that are usually used for species delimitation and classification in the genus. All four subgroups of Anaphalis are common and diversified in the eastern Himalayas with multiple dispersals out of this region. The sole North American species of Anaphalis is best hypothesized to be the result of long-distance dispersal or overland migration via Bering land bridge from Asia. Our analyses suggest that the extant distribution of Anaphalis has most likely resulted one radiation into the eastern Himalayas followed by repeated independent dispersals and/or radiations mostly into eastern Asia but also into the western Himalayas, North America, and southeast Asia.


Anaphalis Asian–North American disjunction Asteraceae Eastern Himalayas Gnaphalieae Phylogeny 



This study was supported by grants from the Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC 40930209 and 31061160184 to H. Sun), One Hundred Person Project of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2011312D11022 to H. Sun), United Fund of the NSFC and Yunnan Natural Science Foundation (U1136601 to H. Sun), and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-EW-J-24 to Z.-L. Nie), and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to J. Wen, R. Ree, and G. Mueller. Support for the senior author’s research visit at the Smithsonian was provided by a postdoctoral fellowship through the SI Fellowship program. Laboratory work was conducted in and partially supported by the Laboratory of Analytical Biology of the National Museum of Natural History, and Fieldwork in North America was supported by the Small Grants Program of the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Institution.


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Copyright information

© The Botanical Society of Japan and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ze-Long Nie
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Vicki Funk
    • 2
  • Hang Sun
    • 1
  • Tao Deng
    • 1
  • Ying Meng
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jun Wen
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Department of Botany, National Museum of Natural History, MRC 166Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research at Kunming, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina

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