, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 232–261 | Cite as

Structural cladistic study of Cocoseae, subtribe Attaleinae (Arecaceae): Evaluating taxonomic limits in Attaleinae and the neotropical genus Syagrus

  • Larry R. Noblick
  • William J. Hahn
  • M. Patrick Griffith


Syagrus (Areaceae: Cocoseae) is a New World palm genus occurring through most of South America, with one species in the eastern Caribbean. Relationships within Syagrus, Cocoseae and Attaleinae (Arecaceae) are investigated via cladistic analysis of 130 structural characters in 69 ingroup and three outgroup species. The data resolve relationships and test generic limits of Attaleinae and among the Syagrus complex. Maximum parsimony analysis derived the following relationships: 1) two major clades (butioid and syagroid) are resolved; 2) Syagrus is polyphyletic as presently defined, with Allagoptera (incl. Polyandrococos), Cocos, Voanioala, and Attalea nested within it; 3) all genera studied except Syagrus and Butia are monophyletic; and 4) relationships in Syagrus broadly align with phytogeography and leaflet anatomy. The data suggest that Syagrus is polyphyletic, and presently accepted taxonomy may not predict monophyletic groups. The relationships predicted by the structural data differ from those resolved via molecular means in part, and also show some congruence.

Key Words

Leaflet anatomy morphology palms Arecaceae Attaleinae Syagrus 



The authors thank Charles Bauduy, Claudia Calonje, Laurie Danielson, John Dransfield, Jack Fisher, John Harshaw, Chad Husby, Brett Jestrow, Walter Judd, Harri Lorenzi, Alan Meerow, Vickie Murphy, Lauren Raz, Sandra Rigotti-Santos, Roger Sanders, Barry Tomlinson, Natalie Uhl, John Watson, Ericka Witcher, Lynka Woodbury, Scott Zona, AAU, B, BAH, BH, BHCB, CAS, CEN, CEPATSA, CEPEC, CESJ, CPAP, CTES, EAC, F, FCQ, FTG, GH, HAS, HB, HBR, HRB, HUEFS, ICN, INPA, IPA, K, LIL, LPB, MAC, MBML, MICH, MO, NA, NY, P, PORTO, PY, RB, SP, SPF, TAN, TEPB, U, UB, UC, UFG, US, Montgomery Botanical Center, and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, for curating and caring for the preserved and living specimens examined. This work began with a Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Montgomery Foundation (Montgomery Botanical Center) at Fairchild Tropical Garden and was continued with funding from the South Florida Palm Society, the National Science Foundation (grant # 0212779), the Fessenden Expedition Fund, the Paul Drummond Palm Conservation Fund, travel support from Jill Menzel, and by the Montgomery Fellows Program of the Kelly Foundation.

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larry R. Noblick
    • 1
  • William J. Hahn
    • 2
  • M. Patrick Griffith
    • 1
  1. 1.Montgomery Botanical CenterMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA

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