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Abstract Detail

Systematics Section / ASPT

Wiegand, Catherine [1], Mort, Mark E. [2], Burrows, Sandy [3].

ITS phylogeny of Asparagus (Asparagaceae) in South Africa.

ASPARAGACEAE s.l. (Asparagales) are a small monocot family comprising up to 120 genera and approximately 2640 species. Members of the family display a high degree of morphological, reproductive, and habitat diversity. Within the large genus Asparagus (between 100 and 300 species) for example, there are taxa that display an herbaceous, shrubby, and vining growth forms. In addition, the genus includes species that display both hermaphroditic and unisexual flowers and most speieces possess spines and cladophylls. The seeds of members of Asparagaceae are ovoid to globular but are characterized by their black color. Despite the high degree of morphological diversity, Asparagus appears to be monophyletic based on broad molecular phylogenetic analyses of the angiosperms. Although there have been three initial phylogenetic analyses of the genus, these studies have had very limited taxon sampling (24 taxa in the largest), which limits their utility for assessing the classification and investigation patterns of morphological evolution in Asparagus. The nrDNA ITS region was sequenced for 83 taxa (62 species) of Asparagus from southern Africa. Parsimony analyses of these data provided a well-resolved estimate of phylogeny for the genus. The results suggest that the common practice of separating Myrsiphyllum from the rest of the Asparagus may be warranted. However, our analyses also suggest that dividing Protasparagus into multiple series is not warranted, as none of the Obermeyer series appear to be monophyletic.

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1 - University of Kansas, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045, United States of America
2 - University of Kansas, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, 1200 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045-7534, USA
3 - Buffelskloof Nature Researve, Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, RSA, Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, , RSA


Presentation Type: Poster
Session: 48-205
Location: Auditorium/Bell Memorial Union
Date: Tuesday, August 1st, 2006
Time: 12:30 PM
Abstract ID:573

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