Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Bot. 2011 Dec;98(12):2049-63. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1100259. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Phylogenetic and population genetic analyses of diploid Leucaena (Leguminosae; Mimosoideae) reveal cryptic species diversity and patterns of divergent allopatric speciation.

Author information

Department of Biology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, 88001, USA.



Leucaena comprises 17 diploid species, five tetraploid species, and a complex series of hybrids whose evolutionary histories have been influenced by human seed translocation, cultivation, and subsequent spontaneous hybridization. Here we investigated patterns of evolutionary divergence among diploid Leucaena through comprehensively sampled multilocus phylogenetic and population genetic approaches to address species delimitation, interspecific relationships, hybridization, and the predominant mode of speciation among diploids.


Parsimony- and maximum-likelihood-based phylogenetic approaches were applied to 59 accessions sequenced for six SCAR-based nuclear loci, nrDNA ITS, and four cpDNA regions. Population genetic comparisons included 1215 AFLP loci representing 42 populations and 424 individuals.


Phylogenetic results provided a well-resolved hypothesis of divergent species relationships, recovering previously recognized clades of diploids as well as newly resolved relationships. Phylogenetic and population genetic assessments identified two cryptic species that are consistent with geography and morphology.


Findings from this study highlight the importance and utility of multilocus data in the recovery of complex evolutionary histories. The results are consistent with allopatric divergence representing the predominant mode of speciation among diploid Leucaena. These findings contrast with the potential hybrid origin of several tetraploid species and highlight the importance of human translocation of seed to the origin of these tetraploids. The recognition of one previously unrecognized species (L. cruziana) and the elevation of another taxon (L. collinsii subsp. zacapana) to specific status (L. zacapana) is consistent with a growing number of newly diagnosed species from neotropical seasonally dry forests, suggesting these communities harbor greater species diversity than previously recognized.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center