End of an enigma: Aenigmopteris belongs in Tectaria (Tectariaceae: Polypodiopsida)

Abstract

The phylogenetic affinities of the fern genus Aenigmopteris have been the subject of considerable disagreement, but until now, no molecular data were available from the genus. Based on the analysis of three chloroplast DNA regions (rbcL, rps16-matK, and trnL-F) we demonstrate that Aenigmopteris dubia (the type species of the genus) and A. elegans are closely related and deeply imbedded in Tectaria. The other three species of genus are morphologically very similar; we therefore transfer all five known species into Tectaria. Detailed morphological comparison further shows that previously proposed diagnostic characters of Aenigmopteris fall within the range of variation of a broadly circumscribed Tectaria.

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Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the curators and staff of the TAIF and UC herbaria for providing access to their collections. Alan Smith, Michael Sundue, and four anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. We also thank Wita Wardani for checking specimens at BO. For the fieldwork in Sabah, we thank the Sabah Biodiversity Centre, Sabah Forestry Department, and Sabah Parks for permission and collecting permits. Wei-Hsiu Wu, Pi-Fong Lu, and the staff of SNP (Sabah National Park) Herbarium provided important assistance in the field. For the fieldwork in Luzon, we thank the officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Torrey Rodgers for logistical support.

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Correspondence to Carl J. Rothfels or Yao-Moan Huang.

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Chen, CW., Rothfels, C.J., Mustapeng, A.M.A. et al. End of an enigma: Aenigmopteris belongs in Tectaria (Tectariaceae: Polypodiopsida). J Plant Res 131, 67–76 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-017-0966-9

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Keywords

  • Ctenitis
  • Dryopteridaceae
  • Fern
  • Morphology
  • Phylogeny
  • Taxonomy