Morphological evolution in the variable resin-producing Detarieae (Fabaceae): Do morphological characters retain a phylogenetic signal?

Marie Fougère-Danezan, Patrick S. Herendeen, Stéphan Maumont, Anne Bruneau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background and Aims Previous molecular phylogenetic studies disagree with the informal generic-level taxonomic groups based on morphology. In this study morphological characters in the caesalpinioid clade Detarieae are evaluated within a phylogenetic framework as a means of better understanding phylogenetic relationships and morphological evolution. Methods Morphological characters were observed and scored for representative species of Detarieae focusing on the resin-producing genera. Phylogenetic analyses were carried out with morphological characters alone and then combined with DNA sequences. Key Results Despite a high level of homoplasy, morphological data support several clades corresponding to those recovered in molecular phylogenetic analyses. The more strongly supported clades are each defined by at least one morphological synapomorphy. Several characters (e.g. apetaly) previously used to define informal generic groups evolved several times independently, leading to the differences observed with the molecular phylogenetic analyses. Although floral evolution is complex in Detarieae some patterns are recovered. Conclusions New informal taxonomic groupings are proposed based on the present findings. Floral evolution in the diverse Detarieae clade is characterized by a repeated tendency toward zygomorphy through the reduction of lateral petals and toward complete loss of petals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of botany
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Caesalpinioideae
  • Detarieae
  • Floral evolution
  • Leguminosae
  • Morphology
  • Phylogeny
  • Resins
  • Taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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