Phylogenetic analysis of the Malvadendrina clade (Malvaceae s.l.) based on plastid DNA sequences

Reto Nyffeler, Clemens Bayer, William S. Alverson, Alan Yen, Barbara A. Whitlock, Mark W. Chase, David A. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Phylogenetic relationships within Malvaceae s.l., a clade that includes the traditional families Bombacaceae, Malvaceae s.str., Sterculiaceae, and Tiliaceae, have become greatly clarified thanks to recent molecular systematic research. In this paper, we use DNA sequences of four plastid regions (atpB, matK, ndhF, and rbcL) to study relationships within Malvadendrina, one of the two major clades of Malvaceae s.l. The four data sets were generally in agreement, but five terminal taxa manifested highly unexpected affinities in the rbcL partition, and the non-coding sequences of the trnK intron were found to provide limited phylogenetic information for resolving relationships at the base of Malvadendrina. The remaining data strongly support the existence of six major clades within Malvadendrina: Brownlowioideae, Dombeyoideae, Helicteroideae, Malvatheca (comprising Bombacoideae and Malvoideae), Sterculioideae, and Tilioideae. These data also resolve the placement of two problematic taxa: Nesogordonia (in Dombeyoideae) and Mortoniodendron (in Tilioideae). The relationships among the six clades are not definitively resolved, but the best-supported topology has Dombeyoideae as sister to the remainder of Malvadendrina (posterior probability PP=80%) and Sterculioideae as sister to Malvatheca (PP=86%). This early branching position of Dombeyoideae is supported by similarities in floral characters between members of that clade and outgroup taxa in Byttnerioideae. Similarly, the sister-group relationship of Sterculioideae and Malvatheca receives support from androecial characteristics, like subsessile or sessile anthers and an absence of staminodes, shared by these two clades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-123
Number of pages15
JournalOrganisms Diversity and Evolution
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 10 2005


  • Bombacaceae
  • Character evolution
  • Malvaceae
  • Malvadendrina
  • Molecular systematics
  • Sterculiaceae
  • Tiliaceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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