Early lineage of Larkspur and Monkshood plants rediscovered in Southern Europe

December 8, 2011
These are Staphisagria macrosperma follicles. Credit: Florian Jabbour, Susanne S. Renner

Larkspurs, monkshoods, and aconites are plants, widely cultivated for their beauty and medicinal properties. They all belong to the Delphinieae, a natural group of 650-700 species ranging from Eurasia into North America, with a few species on tropical African mountains. The study was published in the open access journal PhytoKeys.

A broadly sampled molecular phylogeny for this group has revealed that three Mediterranean species constitute an ancient separate evolutionary line that is the sister group to all remaining Delphinieae. The British physician John Hill already recognized these species' distinctness in 1756, and Jabbour and Renner here resurrect the genus name he had proposed for them.

This is a Staphisagria macrosperma young inflorescence with floral buds. Credit: Florian Jabbour, Susanne S. Renner

Of the three species in Hill's genus Staphisagria, one is an important found all around the , the other two are endemic to Corsica, Majorca, Sardinia, and the of Hyères in the South of France. In an article in the open access journal Phytokeys, Jabbour and Renner from the Institute of Systematic Botany at the University of Munich illustrate and discuss the newly recognized genus, explaining how its three species share traits that fit neither in Delphinium nor in Aconitum, fitting with their long independent evolutionary history.

Explore further: Where the wild veggies are: Cultivated cucumber and melon originated in Asia and Australia

More information: Jabbour F, Renner SS (2011) Resurrection of the genus Staphisagria J. Hill, sister to all the other Delphinieae (Ranunculaceae). PhytoKeys 7: 21. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.7.2010

Related Stories

DNA solves identities of Australian melons and loofah

July 27, 2011

Molecular data have shown that three Australian Cucurbitaceae species initially collected in 1856 but never accepted as separate species are distinct from each other and that one of them is the closest relative of the honeymelon, ...

Recommended for you

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050

August 31, 2015

Researchers from CSIRO and Imperial College London have assessed how widespread the threat of plastic is for the world's seabirds, including albatrosses, shearwaters and penguins, and found the majority of seabird species ...

Researchers unveil DNA-guided 3-D printing of human tissue

August 31, 2015

A UCSF-led team has developed a technique to build tiny models of human tissues, called organoids, more precisely than ever before using a process that turns human cells into a biological equivalent of LEGO bricks. These ...

Study shows female frogs susceptible to 'decoy effect'

August 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—A pair of researchers has found that female túngaras, frogs that live in parts of Mexico and Central and South America, appear to be susceptible to the "decoy effect." In their paper published in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.