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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Plant Systematics: Angiosperm Working Group - Prof. Dr. Sigrid Liede-Schumann

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Verhoeven, R; Liede, S; Endress, M: The tribal position of Fockea and Cibirhiza (Apocynaceae - Asclepiadoideae): evidence from pollinium structure and cpDNA sequence data., Grana, 42, 70-81 (2003)
Abstract: The pollinium morphology of the two members of the Asclepiadoideae, tribe Fockeeae, Fockea Endl. and Cibirhiza Bruyns, has been studied in detail and compared with that of eight genera of Marsdenieae, the tribe in which Fockea and Cibirhiza were previously accommodated and thus their putative closest relatives, as well as nine genera of Asclepiadeae. Both Fockea and Cibirhiza have several morphological characteristics in common, the most important of which is the absence of well-developed caudicula, which distinguishes them from all other genera of Asclepiadoideae known. The pollinium structure of these two genera, however, differs significantly. Whereas the pollinium of Cibirhiza consists of single pollen grains and is covered by a pollinium wall, as is typical for other Asclepiadoideae, the pollinium of Fockea consists of tetrads and is not covered by a pollinium wall, a condition otherwise typical of Secamonoideae. Fockea, however, has only two pollinia per anther, as does Cibirhiza and all other Asclepiadoideae, whereas the Secamonoideae have four pollinia per anther. Sequence data from two intergenic spacers, trnT-L and trnL-F and the trnL intron of cpDNA was analyzed. The ingroup included three species of Fockea and one species of Cibirhiza. The outgroup taxa consisted of three representatives each of Periplocoideae, and Secamonoideae and 24 species of Asclepiadoideae, including representatives of all tribes, of which eight genera belong to Marsdenieae, as outgroups. The results of the DNA analysis provide strong support for Fockeeae as a monophyletic tribe, distinct from Marsdenieae and, to the rest of the Asclepiadoideae. With the exception of pollen data, all morphological and molecular evidence clearly support recognition of the tribe Fockeeae. The occurrence of two such significantly different types of pollinia structure - characters elsewhere in the family used to distinguish subfamilies - within the small tribe Fockeeae was unexpected, and can perhaps best be understood as yet another attestment to the basal position of the Fockeeae in the nascence of the Asclepiadoideae.
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