Aeschynanthus Jack, an epiphytic genus with c.160 species, is widespread in SE Asia. We selected 50 species for ITS nrDNA sequencing, to include all biogeographic areas and all infrageneric groupings, which are currently based on seed morphology. Some species were sequenced directly from PCR product; others cloned because of ITS length polymorphisms. The clone sequences were analysed individually and combined in an elision matrix. Results extend earlier findings that Aeschynanthus is divided into two clades, one occurring primarily in mainland SE Asia and the other in Malesia. This pattern is interpreted as indicating an ancient vicariance event followed by dispersal and plate fusion. Clade I has straight or clockwise spiral orientation of the testa cells and clade II anticlockwise spiral orientation. In clade I some species of section Microtrichium form a basal group with other sections being polyphyletic or paraphyletic. In clade II the monophyletic section Aeschynanthus is nested within the paraphyletic basal Microtrichium.
Evolution in Aeschynanthus (Gesneriaceae) inferred from ITS sequences
Publication: Plant Systematics and Evolution