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Am J Bot. 2001 Apr;88(4):697-705.

Molecular phylogenetics of Acacia (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) based on the chloroplast MATK coding sequence and flanking TRNK intron spacer regions.

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  • 1Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, CSIRO Plant Industry, GPO Box 1600, Canberra, Australia 2601.


The tribe Acacieae (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae) contains two genera, the monotypic African Faidherbia and the pantropical Acacia, which comprise about 1200 species with over 950 confined to Australia. As currently recognized, the genus Acacia is subdivided into three subgenera: subg. Acacia, subg. Aculeiferum, and the predominantly Australian subg. Phyllodineae. Morphological studies have suggested the tribe Acacieae and genus Acacia are artificial and have a close affinity to the tribe Ingeae. Based on available data there is no consensus on whether Acacia should be subdivided. Sequence analysis of the chloroplast trnK intron, including the matK coding region and flanking noncoding regions, indicate that neither the tribe Acacieae nor the genus Acacia are monophyletic. Two subgenera are monophyletic; section Filicinae of subgenus Aculeiferum does not group with taxa of the subgenus. Section Filicinae, eight Ingeae genera, and Faidherbia form a weakly supported paraphyletic grade with respect to subg. Phyllodineae. Acacia subg. Aculeiferum (s. s.) is sister to the grade. These data suggest that characters currently used to differentiate taxa at the tribal, generic, and subgeneric levels are polymorphic and homoplasious in cladistic analyses.

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