J Syst Evol ›› 1996, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (4): 361-375.

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Evolution and Distribution of Subfam. Spiraeoideae (Rosaceae) of China, with Special Reference to Distribution of the Subfamily in the World

Lu Ling-ti   

  • Published:1996-07-10

Abstract: The subfam. Spiraeoideae, consisting of 22 genera and more than 260 species in the world,is the most primitive subfamily of Rosaceae. It has developed into two groups,i.e. evergreen and deciduous ones, of which eight genera and 100 species in China are totally deciduous. In the present paper, the origin,evolution and distribution of the Chinese genera is discussed mainly, and the distribution of the whole subfamily in the floristic regions of the world is also mentioned. Based on evolutionary trends of morphological characters, Spiraea L. is considered as the most primitive genus in the deciduous group of subfam. Spiraeoideae, from which some genera are been derived, the systematic position and evolutionary relationships between different genera are elucidated in this paper. Through the analysis on the geographical distribution of the genera in China, the areal types may be divided as follows: (1) North Temperate Type: Spiraea, Physocarpus, Aruncus. (2) East Asian and North American Disjunct Type: Sorbaria. (3) Mediterranean, West Asian (or Central Asia) and East Asian Type: Sibiraea. (4) Temperate Asian Type: Exochorda.(5) East Asian Type: (a) Sino Himalayan Distribution: Neillia; (b) Sino Japan Distribution: Stephanandra. After analysis of the distribution of subfam. Spiraeoideae in the world, it is shown that the Eastern Asiatic Region, being the richest in genera, species and endemic species of the world,is not only the center of distribution and differentiation,but also an important region for occurrence and development of some deciduous genera of this subfamily, while in North America, the Madrean Region and Rocky Mountain Region, genera, species and endemic species are abundant, which indicates that the western part of North America is also the distribution center of this subfamily at the present, but it may be the secondary center of distribution. It can be seen that the relatively primitive and evergreen g enera, i.e. Quillaja and Kageneckia, are now confined to South America. The fact implies that the South America may be the region for early differentiation and development of the evergreen genera in Subfam. Spiraeoideae. The analysis of Chinese plants has shown that China has the most members of the subfamily in Eastern Asiatic Region, with eight genera, 82 species and 62 endemic species and that the maximum concentration is in western Sichuan, northwestern Yunnan and their adjacent areas. It is very obvious that the center of distribution and diversity of Subfam. Spiraeoideae in China lies in the Hengduan Mountain Region of Sino Himalayan Forest Subkingdom and the western part of SinoJapan Forest Subkingdom, where may be the birthplace of some genera in China. It may be considered that the deciduous genera of Subfam. Spiraeoideae might have originated in Laurasia.According to the fossil records, the time of origin of Subfam.Spiraeoideae dates back to the Lower Cretaceous.

Key words: Rosaceae, subfam. Spiraeoideae, origi n, evolution, distribution, migration