Journal Article

Molecular phylogeny and habitat diversification of the genus <i>Farfugium</i> (Asteraceae) based on nuclear rDNA and plastid DNA

Naofumi Nomura, Tokushiro Takaso, Ching-I Peng, Yoshiko Kono, Kazuo Oginuma, Yuki Mitsui and Hiroaki Setoguchi

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 106, issue 3, pages 467-482
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Molecular phylogeny and habitat diversification of the genus Farfugium (Asteraceae) based on nuclear rDNA and plastid DNA

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


Show Summary Details


Background and Aims

Farfugium (Asteraceae) is a small genus that contains the two species F. japonicum and F. hiberniflorum and is distributed along a long archipelago in east Asia. The common taxon, F. japonicum, includes three varieties associated with a wide range of habitats, including forest understorey (sciophytes), coastal crag (heliophytes) and riverbed (rheophytes). Leaf shape is an important taxonomic character within this genus and is associated with the habitat.


Twenty populations that included all Farfugium taxa were collected throughout its range. Leaf morphology was measured to determine differences amongst the taxa. Phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of the internal transcribed spacer of nuclear rDNA and four plastid DNA regions (matK, trnL-trnF, trnH-psbA and rpl20-rps12) were conducted separately.

Key Results

Leaf morphology was significantly different amongst taxa, but morphological variations were partly explained by adaptation to certain environmental conditions that each population inhabited. Molecular phylogenies for the nDNA internal transcribed spacer and cpDNA were consistent in classifying F. hiberniflorum and the Taiwanese var. formosanum, whilst suggesting polyphyletic origins for the rheophyte, sciophyte and heliophyte taxa. All samples from the southern Ryukyus (Japan) and Taiwan clustered into a monophyletic group, which corroborates the land configuration theory involving Quaternary land-bridge formation and subsequent fragmentation into islands. The incongruence between the two DNA datasets may imply traces of introgressive hybridization and/or incomplete lineage sorting.


The occurrence of rheophyte, sciophyte and heliophyte plants within Farfugium may be attributable to their isolation on islands and subsequent adaptation to the riparian, coastal crag and forest understorey environments, following their migration over the Quaternary land-bridge formation along their distribution range. Nearly identical DNA sequences coupled with highly divergent morphologies amongst these taxa suggest that diversification was rapid.

Keywords: Habitat radiation; heliophyte; leaf shape; rheophyte; Ryukyu Islands; sciophyte

Journal Article.  7804 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.