A biogeographic and phylogenetic study of Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) in the Sundaland region (Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia) and the Philippines using nuclear ribosomal (ITS) DNA sequence data reveals a major division between the Cyrtandra floras of Sundaland and the Philippines. Palawan, the most westerly of the Philippine islands, emerges as an area of mixing between these two. The Bornean element in the Cyrtandra flora of Palawan (two species in our sample) appears to result from recent (i.e. Pleistocene) dispersal from Borneo. The remaining seven species sampled from Palawan are most closely related to those from elsewhere in the Philippines. However, the Palawan clade is sister to the other Philippine taxa, suggesting an ancient (possibly Pliocene) vicariance event. Huxley’s line—a zoogeographic boundary placing Palawan and Borneo together—receives some support from this study as there is evidence of recent dispersal of Bornean flora into Palawan. However, in terms of more ancient biogeographic patterning of the region, Palawan has stronger links with the other Philippine islands.
A molecular test of Huxley’s line Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae) in Borneo and the Philippines
Publication: Biological Journal of the Linnean Society