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Systematics of the Prostantheroideae (native mints; Lamiaceae)

Start date:
01 Jan 2011
End date:
31 Dec 2016
Trevor Wilson Barry Conn Murray Henwood (The University of Sydney)
Project sponsors:
Australian Biological Resources Study

Project aims

  • Build molecular phylogenies for the subfamily Prostantheroideae (Lamiaceae), to test the monophyly, intergeneric and infrageneric relationships within Hemiandra, Hemigenia, Microcorys, Prostanthera and Westringia.
  • Resolve the generic boundaries between Lachnostachys, Physopsis, and Newcastelia
  • Describe new taxa and validate the identity and conservation value of undescribed species.
  • Assess the variation in floral morphology for the Prostantheroideae and integrate it with phylogenetic results to infer trends in floral evolution
  • Identify pollination mechanisms and plant-pollinator relationship

Project Summary

The Prostantheroideae is endemic to Australia and is one of seven subfamilies of the Lamiaceae. There has not been a comprehensive study of the relationships of the taxa in over 100 years and so makes it one of the least understood groups of the Lamiaceae. 

The Westringieae, a tribe in the Prostantheroideae, also lacks a contemporary comprehensive taxonomic treatment. It isdominated by two geographically widespread genera: Prostanthera (c. 100 spp.) andHemigenia (c. 50 spp.). The intergeneric relationships within the tribe are traditionally based on differences in anther morphology, such as the presence or absence of antherappendages or staminodes; However, conferring taxonomic prominence on a limited number of labile morphological characters has been found to be defective in a recent phylogeny of Prostanthera. The boundaries of the these genera and their sections await a more substantial treatment.