Vorontsova, Maria , Knapp, Sandra .
The African spiny solanums: a thorny taxonomic tangle.
The 120 species of spiny Solanum (Leptostemonum clade) endemic to Africa and Madagascar form a poorly known and taxonomically difficult group, which includes the eggplant and several other edible and medicinally useful species. The global synthesis of systematic resources in Solanum conducted by the PBI Solanum Project has allowed us to bring together historic collections held at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K), Musée nationale d'histoire naturelle, Paris (P) and Nationale Plantentuin Meise, Belgium (BR). Examination of the discontinuities in the morphological character distribution, biogeographical patterns and recent molecular phylogenetic results has revealed unexpected relationships and previously unknown taxon boundaries. Andromonoecy, flower size and calyx size were thought to define evolutionary groups and have been utilized for species delimitation. These have been found to have multiple origins, while previously ignored characters such as details of stellate trichome morphology provide more consistent synapomorphies for recognizing species or clades. We review and describe the diversity of spiny Solanum taxa across Africa and Madagascar, summarize current views of relationships based on diagnostic morphological characters, and point out changes in our perceptions of species boundaries and biogeographical patterns.
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Solanaceae Source: a global taxonomic resource for the nightshade family
1 - Natural History Museum, Department of Botany, Cromwell road, London, SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
2 - Natural History Museum, Department of Botany, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, England
Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for BSA Sections
Location: Magpie A/Cliff Lodge - Level B
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 2:15 PM