Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Lamiaceae & Urticaceae

Dr Barry Conn - Principal Research Scientist

Systematics and phylogeny of Lamiaceae

The phylogenetic relationships of the genera within the Australian endemic tribe Chloantheae of the Lamiaceae family were evaluated using chloroplast 3'ndhF and nuclear ITS nucleotide sequence data. Several important problems with the current taxonomic classification and presumed relationships were revealed. The major conclusions of this study are that the current sectional classification of Dicrastylis requires revision and the generic circumscriptions of Newcastelia, Physopsis and Lachnostachys requires further investigation. The relationship between species of the large genus Pityrodia suggests the genus is not monophyletic and that several previously published generic concepts should be re-instated. This is a joint project between Barry Conn and Murray Henwood, Nicola Streiber (both University of Sydney), Elizabeth Brown (Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust) and Richard Olmstead (University of Washington, USA).

Systematics and phylogeny of Urticaceae

As part of a long-term research effort into the systematics and phylogeny of the Urticaceae (sensu lato) using DNA data considerable changes have been recommended. One of the major changes suggested by this research is that the family Cecropiaceae, at least in part, should be included within Urticaceae. In particular, the genus Poikilospermum should be included within the tribe Urticeae, a tribe that was previously defined by all members having stinging hairs. The tribal placement of Cecropia and Coussapoa (both previously in the Cecropiaceae) remains unclear but their affinities are with the tribes Forsskaoleeae, Parietarieae and Boehmerieae of the Urticaceae. The genus Myriocarpa was previously classified in the tribe Boehmerieae. This genus is endemic to Central and South America; however, it exhibits a strong relationship with the members of the tribe Elatostemateae, a group that has members in the Americas as well as the Old World tropics. The intra-tribal structure of the Elatostemateae is unclear; however, there is a strong suggestion that the tribe consists of two sister taxa, one including Elatostema and Procris, and the other consisting of Lecanthus and Pilea. Although the genus Pellionia is recognised as a distinct genus in China, it is here reconfirmed that Pellionia should not be recognised as a distinct genus but is here regarded as a synonym of Procris. Boehmeria, Cypholophus and Laportea as currently circumscribed are all paraphyletic and required additional study to resolve the systematics of these genera. There are three evolutionary lineages in the Urticaceae revealed by our study, namely (1) Boehmerieae-Cecropieae-Forsskaoleeae-Parietarieae, (2) Urticeae and (3) Elatostemateae. This is a collaborative project between B.J. Conn and J.T. Hadiah (Kebun Raya Bogor, Indonesia) and C.J. Quinn (National Herbarium of New South Wales).



Prostanthera lasianthos being visited by a bee-fly (Bombylidae), Mt Buffalo National Park, Victoria. Photo: Trevor Wilson