Plant Diversity ›› 2023, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (05): 501-512.DOI: 10.1016/j.pld.2023.03.005

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Historical development of karst evergreen broadleaved forests in East Asia has shaped the evolution of a hemiparasitic genus Brandisia (Orobanchaceae)

Zhe Chena, Zhuo Zhoua, Ze-Min Guoa,b, Truong Van Doc,d, Hang Suna, Yang Niua   

  1. a. CAS Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 132 Lanhei Road, Kunming 650201, Yunnan, China;
    b. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    c. Vietnam National Museum of Nature, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay 10000, Hanoi, Vietnam;
    d. Graduate University of Science and Technology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology, 18 Hoang Quoc Viet, Cau Giay 10000, Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Received:2022-10-25 Revised:2023-01-14 Online:2023-09-25 Published:2023-11-04
  • Contact: Hang Sun,;Yang Niu,
  • Supported by:
    This work was funded by the Key Projects of the Joint Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1802232), the national youth talent support program, CAS "Light of West China" Program, Yunnan youth talent support program (YNWR-QNBJ-2018-183 to Y.N.), and Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (UQĐTCB.06/22-23).

Abstract: Brandisia is a shrubby genus of about eight species distributed basically in East Asian evergreen broadleaved forests (EBLFs), with distribution centers in the karst regions of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi in southwestern China. Based on the hemiparasitic and more or less liana habits of this genus, we hypothesized that its evolution and distribution were shaped by the development of EBLFs there. To test our hypothesis, the most comprehensive phylogenies of Brandisia hitherto were constructed based on plastome and nuclear loci (nrDNA, PHYA and PHYB); then divergence time and ancestral areas were inferred using the combined nuclear loci dataset. Phylogenetic analyses reconfirmed that Brandisia is a member of Orobanchaceae, with unstable placements caused by nuclear-plastid incongruences. Within Brandisia, three major clades were well supported, corresponding to the three subgenera based on morphology. Brandisia was inferred to have originated in the early Oligocene (32.69 Mya) in the Eastern Himalayas–SW China, followed by diversification in the early Miocene (19.45 Mya) in karst EBLFs. The differentiation dates of Brandisia were consistent with the origin of keystone species of EBLFs in this region (e.g., Fagaceae, Lauraceae, Theaceae, and Magnoliaceae) and the colonization of other characteristic groups (e.g., Gesneriaceae and Mahonia). These findings indicate that the distribution and evolution of Brandisia were facilitated by the rise of the karst EBLFs in East Asia. In addition, the woody and parasitic habits, and pollination characteristics of Brandisia may also be the important factors affecting its speciation and dispersal.

Key words: Biogeography, Brandisia, Evergreen broadleaved forests (EBLFs), Karst, Orobanchaceae, Phylogeny