Molecular systematics of the trans-Pacific alpine genus Oreomyrrhis (Apiaceae): Phylogenetic affinities and biogeographic implications

Kuo Fang Chung, Ching I. Peng, Stephen R. Downie, Krzysztof Spalik, Barbara A. Schaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The alpine ecosystem is the only terrestrial biogeographic unit that is distributed globally. Studying phylogenetics of the plant species in this widespread ecosystem can provide insights into the historical biogeographic processes that have shaped the global biodiversity. The trans-Pacific disjunct alpine genus Oreomyrrhis (Apiaceae) was investigated using nrDNA ITS sequences to test the taxonomic and biogeographic hypotheses. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference revealed that species of Oreomyrrhis form a weakly supported monophyletic clade that is nested within Chaerophyllum sect. Chaerophyllum (subtribe Scandicinae, tribe Scandiceae). The optimal solutions of dispersal-vicariance analysis indicate that the ancestor of Chaerophyllum sect. Chaerophyllum (including Oreomyrrhis) was distributed in Eurasia and subsequently dispersed to North America and southern Pacific Rim. Based on dating using ITS sequence variation, these dispersal events were most likely recent, probably during late Tertiary to Quaternary. The structure of the ITS haplotype network suggests that a rapid range expansion via long-distance dispersal had been crucial in generating the trans-Pacific disjunction of Oreomyrrhis. Furthermore, evolution toward smaller mericarp size and a transition from outcrossing to selfing during Oreomyrrhis's evolution might have increased the chances for long-distance dispersal, facilitating its range expansion and occupation on alpine environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2054-2071
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Alpine plants
  • Apiaceae
  • Chaerophyllum
  • Internal transcribed spacer (ITS)
  • Long-distance dispersal
  • Oreomyrrhis
  • Pleistocene glaciations
  • South Pacific disjunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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