Morphological Phylogenetic Analysis of Two Early-Diverging Genera of Bromelioideae (Bromeliaceae)

Raquel Fernandes Monteiro, André Mantovani, Rafaela Campostrini Forzza



Bromelia includes 66 species, grouped in three subgenera: Bromelia, Distiacanthus and Karatas. The genus is one of the earlier divergent groups within Bromelioideae, a subfamily with innumerable problems of generic delimitation. Considering that few phylogenetic studies have included more than one species of Bromelia, the objectives of this study were to carry out a phylogenetic analysis for the genus, seeking to evaluate its
monophyly as well as its subgenera, and to better understand the interspecific evolutionary relationships within the genus and the intergeneric relationships within Bromelioideae. Also included in the analysis were the two species of Fernseea, a genus originally described from a species placed in Bromelia. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted with combined micro- and  macromorphological data, including 39 taxa with 116 characters.
As in other studies on Bromeliaceae, the clades have low statistical support and many questions regarding the relationships of the groups remain. The circumscription of Bromelia is still uncertain, due to the position of B. irwinii; Fernseea seems to emerge within this genus, as the marority-rule consensus suggests, and the
infrageneric categories are debatable because they do not constitute monophyletic groups. However, Bromelia seems to be paraphyletic and, without B. irwinii, the genus can be considered monophyletic. Beginning with the premise that the most recent common ancestor of Bromelioideae appeared first in the southern Andes, Bromelia and Fernseea seems to have dispersed along three biogeographical routes. The present work is an important contribution to understand the evolution and biogeography of the Bromelioideae.


Bromelia, Fernseea, dry diagonal, Brazilian Shield, morphology

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