Evolutionary patterns in neotropical Helieae (Gentianaceae): Evidence from morphology, chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences

Lena Struwe, Victor A. Albert, M. Fernanda Calió, Cynthia Frasier, Katherine B. Lepis, Katherine G. Mathews, Jason R. Grant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Parsimony-based phylogenetic analyses of the neotropical tribe Helieae (Gentianaceae) are presented, including 22 of the 23 genera and 60 species. This study is based on data from morphology, palynology, and seed micromorphology (127 structural characters), and DNA sequences (matK, trnL intron, ITS). Phylogenetic reconstructions based on ITS and morphology provided the greatest resolution, morphological data further helping to tentatively place several taxa for which DNA was not available (Celiantha, Lagenanthus, Rogerson- anthus, Roraimaea, Senaea, Sipapoantha, Zonanthus). Celiantha, Prepusa and Senaea together appear as the sister clade to the rest of Helieae. The remainder of Helieae is largely divided into two large subclades, the Macrocarpaea subclade and the Symbolanthus subclade. The first subclade includes Macrocarpaea, sister to Chorisepalum, Tachia, and Zonanthus. Irlbachia and Neblinantha are placed as sisters to the Symbolanthus subclade, which includes Aripuana, Calolisianthus, Chelonanthus, Helia, Lagenanthus, Lehmanniella, Purdieanthus, Rogersonanthus, Roraimaea, Sipapoantha, and Symbolanthus. Generic-level polyphyly is detected in Chelonanthus and Irlbachia. Evolution of morphological characters is discussed, and new pollen and seed characters are evaluated for the first time in a combined morphological-molecular phylogenetic analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-499
Number of pages21
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


  • Evolution, gentianaceae
  • Gentianales
  • Helieae
  • Molecular systematics
  • Morphology


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