Kew Bulletin

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 83–99 | Cite as

Phylogeny and biogeography of the lamioid genus Phlomis (Lamiaceae)

  • C. Mathiesen
  • A.-C. Scheen
  • C. Lindqvist


The genus Phlomis is one of the largest genera of subfamily Lamioideae (Lamiaceae) with more than 100 recognised species distributed in Asia, southern Europe and northern Africa. Morphological studies have suggested that the species can be split into two morphologically distinct groups that have previously been recognised as either sections or separate genera. The current study represents the first molecular phylogenetic study of the genus in which taxa representative of the entire genus are included. In contrast to considerable morphological and ecological variation among taxa, sequence variation in the trnL intron, the trnLF intergenic spacer, and the rps16 intron was low, resulting in sparse phylogenetic resolution, particularly among the South West Asian and Mediterranean taxa. However, the results support a split of the genus into two separate groups that are recognised here as the genera Phlomoides and Phlomis in order to decrease taxonomic complexity. The close relationship between Phlomis s.l. and Eremostachys, pointed out by several authors, is confirmed, and in a noteworthy new finding, the small Asian genus Notochaete, is more closely related to the Phlomis s.l. lineage than previously assumed. The two monotypic genera Pseuderemostachys and Lamiophlomis as well as Notochaete hamosa are transferred to Phlomoides and three new combinations are made. Character optimisation analyses based on geographic distributions of all taxa show that the groups obtained by molecular phylogenetic analysis correlate well with biogeography. The results suggest that the Phlomis s.l. lineage has a Central Asian origin in an area around Western China.

Key Words

Biogeography Lamiaceae Phlomis Phlomoides phylogeny rps16 intron trnL – trnF 



The authors thank the A, O, S, UPS, and US herbaria and Jim Mann Taylor (NCCPG National Collection of Phlomis) for providing plant material, and Jan Wesenberg for translation of Russian literature. This research was supported by the Research Council of Norway (grant no. 154145), the University of Oslo (Norway) and University at Buffalo (SUNY, USA).


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Copyright information

© The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Natural History MuseumUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity at Buffalo (SUNY)BuffaloUSA

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