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Phylogenetic study of the New Caledonian endemic genus Adenodaphne (Lauraceae) confirms its synonymy with Litsea

posted on 23.06.2022, 14:40 authored by Jérôme Munzinger, Gordon McPherson, Stacey Meyer, Chrissen Gemmill

The genus Adenodaphne is currently considered endemic to New Caledonia, but its distinction from Litsea is questionable based on morphological similarity. An earlier phylogenetic analysis (ITS) including one species of Adenodaphne and two Asian species of Litsea did support their close relationship but did not permit resolution of their generic boundary. We sampled the four species of Adenodaphne currently recognized (11 accessions) and 11 of the 13 endemic species of Litsea currently recognized, plus one undescribed species (24 accessions in total). Based on our extensive herbarium studies, fieldwork, and especially our molecular phylogenetic analyses (ITS), we conclude that Adenodaphne is not distinct from Litsea and that all species of Adenodaphne should be recognized within Litsea, thereby necessitating the creation of two new species synonymies and one nomen novum. In addition, Litsea paoueensis is here synonymized with L. deplanchei. Finally, our phylogenetic analysis suggests that the sole species of Litsea from New Zealand, which is endemic, results from a rarely documented long-distance dispersal event from New Caledonia.


We are indebted to Odile Poncy and Serge Muller (MNHN) and the Programme Flores du MNHN, supported by the Fondation Franklinia, 2019–2022, for funding and facilitation of our studies.