J Syst Evol ›› 2023, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (1): 42-63.DOI: 10.1111/jse.12905

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Molecular phylogenetics of subfamily Urgineoideae (Hyacinthaceae): Toward a coherent generic circumscription informed by molecular, morphological, and distributional data

Mario Martínez‐Azorín1*, Manuel B. Crespo1, María Ángeles Alonso‐Vargas1, Michael Pinter2, Neil R. Crouch3,4, Anthony P. Dold5, Ladislav Mucina6,7, Martin Pfosser8, and Wolfgang Wetschnig2   

  1. 1 Depto. de Ciencias Ambientales y Recursos Naturales (dCARN), Universidad de Alicante, P.O. Box 99, Alicante E‐03080, Spain
    2 Division of Plant Sciences, Institute of Biology, NAWI Graz, Karl‐Franzens University Graz, Holteigasse 6, Graz 8010, Austria
    3 Biodiversity Research and Monitoring Directorate, South African National Biodiversity Institute, P.O. Box 52099, Berea Road, Durban 4007, South Africa
    4 School of Chemistry & Physics, University of KwaZulu‐Natal, Durban 4041, South Africa
    5 Department of Botany, Selmar Schonland Herbarium, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa
    6 Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University, 90 South Street, Building 390, Murdoch WA, Perth 6150, Australia
    7 Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602 Stellenbosch, South Africa
    8 Biocenter Linz, Johann‐Wilhelm‐Klein‐Straße 73, Linz 4040, Austria

    *Author for correspondence. E‐mail: mmartinez@ua.es
  • Received:2021-09-26 Accepted:2022-07-19 Online:2022-07-26 Published:2023-01-01


The taxonomy and systematics of Urgineoideae (Hyacinthaceae) have been controversial in recent decades, with contrasting taxonomic treatments proposed based on preliminary and partial studies that have focused on morphology and/or solely plastid DNA sequence data. Some authors have recognized only two genera, with a very broadly conceived Drimia, while others have accepted several genera that, although better defined morphologically, were doubtfully monophyletic. Here, we present phylogenetic analyses involving four plastid DNA regions (trnL intron, trnL-F spacer, matK, and the trnCGCA-ycf6 intergenic region), a nuclear region (Agt1), and a selection of 40 morphological characters. Our study covers 293 samples and ca. 160 species of Urgineoideae (ca. 80% of its global diversity). Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood, and maximum parsimony analyses were performed to derive the phylogenetic patterns. The combination of data yielded phylogenetic trees with 31 well-defined clades or lineages, most corresponding to previously described genera, although some have required description or revised circumscription. As with other monocot families, a considerable degree of homoplasy was observed in morphological characters, especially in those groups with unspecialized flowers; nonetheless, consistent syndromes of traditional and novel characters are shown to support clade recognition at genus rank. The forthcoming revised classification of Urgineoideae is outlined here.

Key words: Asparagaceae, Hyacinthaceae, molecular systematics, morphology, Scilloideae, taxonomy, Urgineoideae