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Revision of the Madagascan Endemic Stapelianthus (Apocynaceae) Based on Molecular and Morphological Characters

P. V. Bruyns and C. Klak
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 91, No. 3 (Oct., 2004), pp. 410-437
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3298618
Page Count: 28
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Revision of the Madagascan Endemic Stapelianthus (Apocynaceae) Based on Molecular and Morphological Characters
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Abstract

The genus Stapelianthus Choux (Asclepiadoideae-Ceropegieae), which is endemic to the arid southern parts of Madagascar, is revised and seven species are recognized. Morphological characters and characters derived from one chloroplast gene region (trnL-trnF) and one nuclear gene region (ITS1) are used in a combined analysis to show that, in its present circumscription, Stapelianthus is a monophyletic entity. The molecular characters clearly suggest that the species of Stapelianthus form a distinct evolutionary lineage from the remainder of the stapeliads in Africa. However, there are relatively few characters separating the species. Consequently, within the genus the relationships remain largely unresolved and are weakly supported where they are resolved. Although the genus remains morphologically difficult to circumscribe, it is defined by its unique coronal structure. Stapelianthus calcarophilus Morat is placed in synonymy under S. arenarius Bosser & Morat and S. hardyi Lavranos under S. montagnacii (Boiteau) Boiteau & Jean Bertrand. Lectotypes are selected for S. insignis Desc. and S. decaryi Choux.

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