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Phylogeny and biogeography of Boronia (Rutaceae)

Start date:
01 Jan 2011
End date:
31 Dec 2018
Marco Duretto Margaret Heslewood Michael Bayly (School of Biological Sciences, The University of Melbourne)
Marco Duretto

Project aims

  • Produce a phylogeny of Boronia and Boronella using molecular and morphological data
  • Test the current classification of the genera and determine the relationships of the various sections and series
  • Map out key morphological characters, pollination systems and ecology, on the cladogram and define a new classification as appropriate

Project Summary

Boronia (154 spp.) is the largest genus of Rutaceae in Australia and is found in all mainland states and territories.  Major centers of diversity in the south-west and south-east; and minor centres are found in the Kimberley Region (WA) and the ‘Top End’ (NT). Boronella contains four species and is confined to New Caledonia.  There are a number of sections recognized and the relationships of these are unclear though it is clear that one of the largest, section Boronia, is not a natural assemblage.

Research Update

To date we have demonstrated that Boronella is nested in Boronia and that section and series Boronia are unnatural assemblages. We have transferred Boronella to Boronia thus making Boronia a genus shared between Australia and New Caledonia. We have also moved series Pedunculatae out of section Boronia. Several species, eg. B. scabra and B. inornata, in section Boronia are isolated and may warrant their own sections. Interestingly the species with the well developed pollination syndromes are not taxonomically isolated. South-west Western Australia has been identified as particularly diverse in the genus, not only in the number of species but also at the subgeneric level.