VEGETOS: An International Journal of Plant ResearchOnline ISSN: 2229-4473
Print ISSN: 0970-4078

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Phylogenetic Analysis of Acanthaceae in Egypt Based on Morphological Criteria

Phylogenetic Analysis of Acanthaceae in Egypt Based on Morphological Criteria

Acanthaceae is a large family (order Lamiales), the members of which present a rich diversity of morphological characteristics. The aim of present study is to assess the use of these morphological criteria in analyzing the phylogenetic relationships among the Egyptian species of the family. The morphological data viz. macromorphology (whole plant), stomatography (upper and lower epidermis) and lamina architecture of 29 Egyptian acanthaceous taxa in addition to Avecinia marina as outgroup were used. The parsimony analysis using WinClada- NONA 1.6 software’s based on 55 potentially informative morphological characters (158 character states) indicates that the morphological criteria is likely to be useful in addressing phylogenetic questions among genera. In terms of phylogenetic relationships, there is strong support for monophyly of Justicia, Pseuderanthemum and Ruellia, lineages as a group. Justicia and Pseuderanthemum lineages are supported as sister groups. Barleria is not monophyletic genus where the studied species are distributed within two distinct lineages viz. Justicia and Pseuderanthemum. Within the Justicia lineage, results confirm the existence of two monophyletic sublineages. The inclusion of Jacobinia and Justicia in one monophyletic group is supported. The delimitation and the membership of the studied taxa clearly merit additional study using more criteria. It is indicated that Acanthaceae has four major lineages three of them form a monophyletic group viz. Ruellia, Pseuderanthemum and Justecia, the two latter show a sister-group relationship. Ruellia is a monophyletic genus while Barleria is not. The inclusion of Jacobinia and Justicia in one monophyletic group and the presence of Pachstachys within Justicia lineage are supported.

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