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Am J Bot. 2004 Mar;91(3):490-8. doi: 10.3732/ajb.91.3.490.

Intergeneric and infrafamilial phylogeny of subfamily Monsteroideae (Araceae) revealed by chloroplast trnL-F sequences.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, CB2 3EA, UK;


The chloroplast trnL-F region was used as an independent data set for phylogenetic analysis of 118 aroid taxa. We investigated the intergeneric relationships of subfamily Monsteroideae (Araceae) and used this as a basis for an interspecific phylogenetic study of Rhaphidophora Hassk., the largest genus of the Monsteroideae. Results of the molecular tree were useful for inferring subfamilial and tribal circumscription and evolution in Araceae. Our results show that family Araceae consists of five clades that correspond to the subfamilies traditionally recognized. Starting from the most basal clade, these correspond to subfamilies Gymnostachydoideae and Orontioideae (proto aroids), with Lemna sp. (Lemnaceae) embedded in the Araceae and sister to the true aroids consisting of Pothoideae sister to Monsteroideae, immediately sister to Lasioideae and Aroideae. There is less agreement with existing tribal classifications. Complex relationships exist between members of the Monsteroideae. Our results show that Rhaphidophora and Epipremnum are paraphyletic with species of Rhaphidophora sampled, forming three informal groups with other genera of the Monstereae. Phylogenetic results may be used to suggest taxonomic changes to the current systematics of the monsteroids.

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