The angiosperm order Malpighiales includes ∼16,000 species and constitutes up to 40% of the understory tree diversity in tropical rain forests. Despite remarkable progress in angiosperm systematics during the last 20 y, relationships within Malpighiales remain poorly resolved, possibly owing to its rapid rise during the mid-Cretaceous. Using phylogenomic approaches, including analyses of 82 plastid genes from 58 species, we identified 12 additional clades in Malpighiales and substantially increased resolution along the backbone. This greatly improved phylogeny revealed a dynamic history of shifts in net diversification rates across Malpighiales, with bursts of diversification noted in the Barbados cherries (Malpighiaceae), cocas (Erythroxylaceae), and passion flowers (Passifloraceae). We found that commonly used a priori approaches for partitioning concatenated data in maximum likelihood analyses, by gene or by codon position, performed poorly relative to the use of partitions identified a posteriori using a Bayesian mixture model. We also found better branch support in trees inferred from a taxon-rich, data-sparse matrix, which deeply sampled only the phylogenetically critical placeholders, than in trees inferred from a taxon-sparse matrix with little missing data. Although this matrix has more missing data, our a posteriori partitioning strategy reduced the possibility of producing multiple distinct but equally optimal topologies and increased phylogenetic decisiveness, compared with the strategy of partitioning by gene. These approaches are likely to help improve phylogenetic resolution in other poorly resolved major clades of angiosperms and to be more broadly useful in studies across the Tree of Life. M alpighiales are one of the most surprising clades discovered in broad molecular phylogenetic studies of the flowering plants (1-3). The order contains ∼16,000 species and 42 families (2, 3) that exhibit remarkable morphological and ecological diversity. A few examples include cactus-like succulents (Euphorbiaceae), epiphytes (Clusiaceae), holoparasites (Rafflesiaceae), submerged aquatics (Podostemaceae), and windpollinated trees (temperate Salicaceae). The order is ecologically important: species in Malpighiales constitute up to 40% of the understory tree diversity in tropical rain forests worldwide (4). They also include many economically important species, such as Barbados nut (Jatropha curcas L., Euphorbiaceae), cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz, Euphorbiaceae), castor bean (Ricinus communis L., Euphorbiaceae), coca (Erythroxylum coca Lam., Erythroxylaceae), flax (Linum usitatissimum L., Linaceae), the poplars (Populus spp., Salicaceae), and the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis Müll. Arg., Euphorbiaceae). Partially for this reason, genomic resources for Malpighiales are growing at a rapid pace and include whole-genome sequencing projects completed or near completion for Barbados nut (5), cassava, castor bean (6), flax, and poplar (7). Thus, a resolved phylogeny of Malpighiales is critical not only for evol...
A survey of our own comparative studies on several larger clades of rosids and over 1400 original publications on rosid flowers shows that floral structural features support to various degrees the supraordinal relationships in rosids proposed by molecular phylogenetic studies. However, as many apparent relationships are not yet well resolved, the structural support also remains tentative. Some of the features that turned out to be of interest in the present study had not previously been considered in earlier supraordinal studies. The strongest floral structural support is for malvids (Brassicales, Malvales, Sapindales), which reflects the strong support of phylogenetic analyses. Somewhat less structurally supported are the COM (Celastrales, Oxalidales, Malpighiales) and the nitrogen-fixing (Cucurbitales, Fagales, Fabales, Rosales) clades of fabids, which are both also only weakly supported in phylogenetic analyses. The sister pairs, Cucurbitales plus Fagales, and Malvales plus Sapindales, are structurally only weakly supported, and for the entire fabids there is no clear support by the present floral structural data. However, an additional grouping, the COM clade plus malvids, shares some interesting features but does not appear as a clade in phylogenetic analyses. Thus it appears that the deepest split within eurosidsthat between fabids and malvids-in molecular phylogenetic analyses (however weakly supported) is not matched by the present structural data. Features of ovules including thickness of integuments, thickness of nucellus, and degree of ovular curvature, appear to be especially interesting for higher level relationships and should be further explored. Although features of interest are not necessarily stable at the level of a large clade, they do show a considerable concentration in particular clades and are rare or lacking in others. This may be viewed as a special trend for this feature to evolve in this group or to be conserved as a synapomorphy (or a combination of both)
Floral morphology, anatomy and histology in the newly circumscribed order Celastrales, comprising Celastraceae, Parnassiaceae and Lepidobotryaceae are studied comparatively. Several genera of Celastraceae and Lepidobotrys (Lepidobotryaceae) were studied for the first time in this respect. Celastraceae are well supported as a group by floral structure (including genera that were in separate families in earlier classifications); they have dorsally bulged-up locules (and thus apical septa) and contain oxalate druses in their floral tissues. The group of Celastraceae and Parnassiaceae is also well supported. They share completely syncarpous gynoecia with commissural stigmatic lobes (and strong concomitant development of the commissural vascular bundles but weak median carpel bundles), only weakly crassinucellar or incompletely tenuinucellar ovules with an endothelium, partly fringed sepals and petals, protandry in bisexual flowers combined with herkogamy by the movement of stamens and anther abscission, and stamens fused with the ovary. In contrast, Lepidobotryaceae are more distant from the other two families, sharing only a handful of features with Celastraceae (not Parnassiaceae), such as pseudohermaphroditic flowers, united stamen bases forming a collar around the gynoecium and seeds with a conspicuous aril. However, all three families together are also somewhat supported as a group and share petals that are not retarded in late floral bud development, 3-carpellate gynoecia, ventral slits of carpels closed by long interlocking epidermal cells and pollen tube transmitting tissue encompassing several cell layers, both integuments usually more than two cell layers thick, and only weak or lacking floral indumentum. In some molecular analyses Celastrales form an unsupported clade with Malpighiales and Oxalidales. This association is supported by floral structure, especially between Celastrales and Malpighiales. Among Celastrales, Lepidobotryaceae especially share special features with Malpighiales, including a diplostemonous androecium with ten fertile stamens, epitropous ovules with an obturator and strong vascularization around the chalaza.
Floral morphology, anatomy and histology were studied in representatives of all families of current Oxalidales, which were recently constituted as a result of molecular systematic studies by other authors, and are composed of families of different positions in traditional classifications (Oxalidaceae, Connaraceae, Brunelliaceae, Cephalotaceae, Cunoniaceae, Elaeocarpaceae, Tremandraceae). Two of the three pairs of sister (or nested) families that come out in molecular analyses are highly supported by floral structure: Oxalidaceae/Connaraceae and Elaeocarpaceae/Tremandraceae, whereas Cephalotaceae/Cunoniaceae are not especially similar at the level of Oxalidales. Oxalidaceae and Connaraceae share petals that are postgenitally united into a basal tube (although they are imbricate in both) but free at the insertion zone, stamens that are congenitally united at the base, uniseriate glandular hairs on the stamen filaments, and ovules that are hemianatropous to almost orthotropous. The sharing of a special type of sieve‐tube plastids and of trimorphic heterostyly, studied by other authors, should also be mentioned. With Brunelliaceae, the two families share an androgynophore and nectaries at the base of the stamens in alternisepalous sectors. Elaeocarpaceae and Tremandraceae share buzz‐pollinated flowers and a syndrome of features functionally connected with it. In addition, petals are larger than sepals in advanced bud, they are valvate, involute and enwrap part of the adjacent stamens, they have three vascular traces. Lignified hairs are common on the anthers and are found in the ovary locules and on the ovules (not lignified) of representatives of both families. Ovules have a chalazal appendage, and the inner integument is much thicker than the outer. © 2002 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2002, 140, 321–381.
Chrysobalanaceae s.l., one of the few suprafamilial subclades of Malpighiales that is supported by molecular phylogenetic analyses, and containing Chrysobalanaceae, Dichapetalaceae, Euphroniaceae, and Trigoniaceae, was comparatively studied with regard to floral structure. The subclade is well supported by floral structure. Potential synapomorphies for Chrysobalanaceae s.l. are the following shared features: floral cup; flowers obliquely monosymmetric; sepals congenitally united at base; sepals of unequal size (outer two shorter); fertile stamens concentrated on the anterior side of the flower and sometimes united into a strap; staminodes absent in the posteriormost antepetalous position; anthers extremely introrse, with thecae almost in one plane; endothecium continuous over the dorsal side of the connective; dorsal anther pit; gynoecium completely syncarpous up to the stigma; carpel flanks slightly bulged out transversely and thus carpels demarcated from each other by a longitudinal furrow; flowers with dense unicellular, non-lignified hairs, especially on the gynoecium; light-coloured, dense indumentum on young shoots and inflorescences. Potential synapomorphies for Chrysobalanaceae + Euphroniaceae include: spur in floral cup; clawed petals; lignified hairs on petals; nectary without lobes or scales and mostly annular. Potential synapomorphies for Dichapetalaceae + Trigoniaceae include: special mucilage cells in sepals in mesophyll (in addition to epidermis); anthers almost basifixed; gynoecium synascidiate up to lower style; nectary with lobes or scales and semi-annular.
Within the rosid order Malpighiales, Rhizophoraceae and Erythroxylaceae (1) are strongly supported as sisters in molecular phylogenetic studies and possibly form a clade with either Ctenolophonaceae (2) or with Linaceae, Irvingiaceae and Caryocaraceae (less well supported) (3). In order to assess the validity of these relationships from a floral structural point of view, these families are comparatively studied for the first time in terms of their floral morphology, anatomy and histology. Overall floral structure reflects the molecular results quite well and Rhizophoraceae and Erythroxylaceae are well supported as closely related. Ctenolophonaceae share some unusual floral features (potential synapomorphies) with Rhizophoraceae and Erythroxylaceae. In contrast, Linaceae, Irvingiaceae and Caryocaraceae are not clearly supported as a clade, or as closely related to Rhizophoraceae and Erythroxylaceae, as their shared features are probably mainly symplesiomorphies at the level of Malpighiales or a (still undefined) larger subclade of Malpighales, rather than synapomorphies. Rhizophoraceae and Erythroxylaceae share (among other features) conduplicate petals enwrapping stamens in bud, antepetalous stamens longer than antesepalous ones, a nectariferous androecial tube with attachment of the two stamen whorls at different positions: one whorl on the rim, the other below the rim of the tube, the ovary shortly and abruptly dorsally bulged and the presence of a layer of idioblasts (laticifers?) in the sepals and ovaries. Ctenolophonaceae share with Rhizophoraceae and/or Erythroxylaceae (among other features) sepals with less than three vascular traces, a short androgynophore, an ovary septum thin and severed or completely disintegrating during development, leading to a developmentally secondarily unilocular ovary, a zigzag-shaped micropyle and seeds with an aril.
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