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What Does Morphology Tell Us about Orchid Relationships?-A Cladistic Analysis

John V. Freudenstein and Finn N. Rasmussen
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 86, No. 2 (Feb., 1999), pp. 225-248
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656939
Page Count: 24
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What Does Morphology Tell Us about Orchid Relationships?-A Cladistic Analysis
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Abstract

A cladistic analysis of Orchidaceae was undertaken for 98 genera using 71 morphological apomorphies based on a reconsideration of previous character analyses and newly discovered variation. The equally weighted analysis found 60 000 most parsimonious trees with low consistency (CI = 0.29) but high retention (RI = 0.83). The strict consensus reveals a significant amount of structure, and most traditionally recognized subfamilies are supported as monophyletic, including the Apostasioideae, Cypripedioideae, Spiranthoideae, and Epidendroideae. Orchidoideae in the broad sense are paraphyletic, giving rise to spiranthoids. Vanilloids are sister to epidendroids, although exhibiting several states otherwise found only in clearly basal groups, such as Apostasioideae. The nonvandoid epidendroids are poorly resolved, due to a high degree of homoplasy. The vandoids appear to be monophyletic, contrary to recent molecular evidence, possibly due to repeated parallel development of the vandoid character suite. The importance of vegetative characters as evidence putatively independent from floral features is demonstrated in the placement of Tropidia. Implied weighting analysis of these data resulted in similar patterns at high levels, although the Orchidoideae and Spiranthoideae may each be monophyletic and the nonvandoid epidendroids are more resolved. The high degree of structure implied in previous orchid classifications must be reconsidered, given the poor resolution at lower levels in the present trees.

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