The Gesneriaceae is a family known for convergent evolution of complex floral forms. As a result, defining genera and resolving evolutionary relationships among such genera using morphological data alone has been challenging and often does not accurately reflect monophyletic lineages. The tribe Episcieae is the most diverse within Neotropical Gesneriaceae in terms of its number of species and morphological diversity. As a result, defining genera using floral characters has been historically troublesome. Here we investigate relationships among genera of the tribe using an array of chloroplast DNA, nuclear ribosomal genes, and low-copy nuclear genes to provide resolution for the monophyly of the genera and relationships among the monophyletic groups. All known genera in the tribe (with the exception of the monospecific Lampadaria) have been sampled, and most have been sampled to provide an assessment to determine their monophyly. Of the 17 genera in the tribe that comprise more than a single species, we have sampled 15 with at least two species. The following six genera are identified as para- or polyphyletic: Neomortonia, Episcia, Paradrymonia, Nautilocalyx, Codonanthe, and Nematanthus. Our results strongly support at least three independent origins of fleshy fruits, which are defined here as fleshy display capsules or indehiscent berries.
Phylogeny of a Neotropical Clade in the Gesneriaceae: More Tales of Convergent Evolution
Publication: International Journal of Plant Science
Genera: Codonanthe, Columnea, Drymonia, Episcia, Nautilocalyx, Nematanthus, Neomortonia, Paradrymonia