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Am J Bot. 2001 Mar;88(3):503-33.

The dalbergioid legumes (Fabaceae): delimitation of a pantropical monophyletic clade.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana 59717 USA;


A monophyletic pantropical group of papilionoid legumes, here referred to as the "dalbergioid" legumes, is circumscribed to include all genera previously referred to the tribes Aeschynomeneae and Adesmieae, the subtribe Bryinae of the Desmodieae, and tribe Dalbergieae except Andira, Hymenolobium, Vatairea, and Vataireopsis. This previously undetected group was discovered with phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequences from the chloroplast trnK (including matK) and trnL introns, and the nuclear ribosomal 5.8S and flanking internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2. All dalbergioids belong to one of three well-supported subclades, the Adesmia, Dalbergia, and Pterocarpus clades. The dalbergioid clade and its three main subclades are cryptic in the sense that they are genetically distinct but poorly, if at all, distinguished by nonmolecular data. Traditionally important taxonomic characters, such as arborescent habit, free stamens, and lomented pods, do not provide support for the major clades identified by the molecular analysis. Short shoots, glandular-based trichomes, bilabiate calyces, and aeschynomenoid root nodules, in contrast, are better indicators of relationship at this hierarchical level. The discovery of the dalbergioid clade prompted a re-analysis of root nodule structure and the subsequent finding that the aeschynomenoid root nodule is synapomorphic for the dalbergioids.

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