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Trends Plant Sci. 2005 Nov;10(11):536-41. Epub 2005 Oct 6.

Evolution of diversity: the Cape flora.

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  • 1Institute for Systematic Botany, University of Zurich, Zollikerstrasse 107, Zurich CH-8008, Switzerland.


Although the environmental correlates of plant species richness have long received attention, research into the genesis of this diversity is in its infancy. The recent development of molecular dating methods and the inference of robust phylogenetic hypotheses have made it possible to investigate this problem. I use the Cape flora as a model to show that much modern diversity could be the result of recruiting diverse lineages over the entire Cenozoic into this flora, followed by in situ diversification (thus increasing species richness) of at least some of these lineages over a long period in an environmentally heterogeneous area.

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