J Syst Evol ›› 2020, Vol. 58 ›› Issue (4): 423-439.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12536

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Plastid phylogenomics improve phylogenetic resolution in the Lauraceae

Yu Song1,2,3†, Wen-Bin Yu1,2,3†, Yun-Hong Tan1,2,3†, Jian-Jun Jin4, Bo Wang1,2, Jun-Bo Yang4*, Bing Liu5,6*, and Richard T. Corlett1,2,3*   

  1. 1Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, Yunnan, China
    2Center of Conservation Biology, Core Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, Yunnan, China
    3Southeast Asia Biodiversity Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yezin, Nay Pyi Taw 05282, Myanmar
    4Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
    5State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
    6Sino‐African Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430074, China
  • Received:2019-03-21 Accepted:2019-07-31 Online:2019-08-24 Published:2020-07-01


The family Lauraceae is a major component of tropical and subtropical forests worldwide, and includes some commercially important timber trees and medicinal plants. However, phylogenetic relationships within Lauraceae have long been problematic due to low sequence divergence in commonly used markers, even between morphologically distinct taxa within the family. Here we present phylogenetic analyses of 43 newly generated Lauraceae plastomes together with 77 plastomes obtained from GenBank, representing 24 genera of Lauraceae and 17 related families of angiosperms, plus nine barcodes from 19 additional species in 18 genera of Lauraceae, in order to reconstruct highly supported relationships for the Lauraceae. Our phylogeny supports the relationships: sisterhood of the Lauraceae and a clade containing Hernandiaceae and Monimiaceae, with Atherospermataceae and Gomortegaceae being the next sister groups, followed by Calycanthaceae. Our results highlight a monophyletic Lauraceae, with nine well‐supported clades as follows: Hypodaphnis clade, Beilschmiedia Cryptocarya clade, Cassytha clade, Neocinnamomum clade, Caryodaphnopsis clade, Chlorocardium Mezilaurus clade, Machilus Persea clade, Cinnamomum Ocotea clade, and Laurus Neolitsea clade. The topology recovered here is consistent with the patterns of plastome structural evolution and morphological synapomorphies reported previously. More specifically, flower sex, living type, inflorescence type, ovary position, anther locus number, leaf arrangement, leaf venation, lateral vein number, tree height, and inflorescence location all represent morphological synapomorphies of different lineages. Our findings have taxonomic implications and two new tribes, Caryodaphnopsideae and Neocinnamomeae, are described, and the composition of four other tribes is updated. The phylogeny recovered here provides a robust phylogenetic framework through which to address the evolutionary history of the Magnoliids, the third‐largest group of Mesangiospermae.

Key words: chloroplast, Laurales, magnoliids, phylogenetic relationships