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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2012 Jan;62(1):359-74. doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2011.10.006. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

Towards a species level tree of the globally diverse genus Chenopodium (Chenopodiaceae).

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Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem und Institut für Biologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences, Königin-Luise-Strasse 6-8, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


Chenopodium is a large and morphologically variable genus of annual and perennial herbs with an almost global distribution. All subgenera and most sections of Chenopodium were sampled along with other genera of Chenopodieae, Atripliceae and Axyrideae across the subfamily Chenopodioideae (Chenopodiaceae), totalling to 140 taxa. Using Maximum parsimony and Bayesian analyses of the non-coding trnL-F (cpDNA) and nuclear ITS regions, we provide a comprehensive picture of relationships of Chenopodium sensu lato. The genus as broadly classified is highly paraphyletic within Chenopodioideae, consisting of five major clades. Compared to previous studies, the tribe Dysphanieae with three genera Dysphania, Teloxys and Suckleya (comprising the aromatic species of Chenopodium s.l.) is now shown to form one of the early branches in the tree of Chenopodioideae. We further recognize the tribe Spinacieae to include Spinacia, several species of Chenopodium, and the genera Monolepis and Scleroblitum. The Chenopodium rubrum and the Ch. murale-clades were newly discovered as distinct major lineages but their relationships within Chenopodioideae will need further evaluation. Based on our results, we suggest the delimitation of Chenopodium to include Einadia and Rhagodia because these are part of the crown group composed of species of subg. Chenopodium that appear sister to the Atripliceae. The tetraploid crops such as Ch. berlandieri subsp. nuttalliae and Ch. quinoa also belong to Chenopodium sensu stricto. Trees derived from trnL-F and ITS were incongruent within this shallow crown group clade. Possible biological causes are discussed, including allopolyploidization.

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