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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 May;19(2):259-76.

Relationships among "ancient araliads" and their significance for the systematics of Apiales.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284, USA.


The relationship between the angiosperm families Apiaceae and Araliaceae (order Apiales) has been difficult to resolve, due in large part to problems associated with taxa characterized by a mixture of features typical of both families. Among such confounding groups are the araliads Delarbrea, Pseudosciadium, Myodocarpus, Mackinlaya, and Apiopetalum and many members of Apiaceae subfamily Hydrocotyloideae. Traditional systems have often envisioned these taxa as phyletic intermediates or bridges between the two families. To reevaluate the phylogenetic position of the "intermediate" araliad genera, molecular data were collected from nuclear (rDNA ITS) and plastid (matK) sequences from a complete or near-complete sampling of species in each genus. When analyzed with samples representing the other major clades now recognized within Apiales, results confirm and expand the findings of previously published studies. The five araliad "intermediates" are placed within two well-supported clades clearly segregated from the "core" groups of both Apiaceae and Araliaceae. These segregate clades closely parallel traditional definitions of the araliad tribes Myodocarpeae (Delarbrea, Pseudosciadium, and Myodocarpus) and Mackinlayeae (Mackinlaya and Apiopetalum), and relationships among the species within these clades are largely supported by morphological and anatomical data. Based on these results, Myodocarpeae and Mackinlayeae may best be treated as distinct families. This approach would render four monophyletic groups within Apiales, to which a fifth, Pittosporaceae, cannot at present be excluded. Sampling of taxa from Hydrocotyloideae remains preliminary, but results confirm previous studies indicating the polyphyly of this subfamily: hydrocotyloid taxa may be found in no fewer than three major clades in Apiales.

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