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The genus Nuphar consists of yellow-flowered waterlilies and is widely distributed in north-temperate bodies of water. Despite regular taxonomic evaluation of these plants, no explicit phylogenetic hypotheses have been proposed for the genus. We investigated phylogenetic relationships in Nuphar using morphology and sequences of the chloroplast gene matK and of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Two major lineages within Nuphar are consistently resolved with the morphological and molecular data sets. One lineage comprises New World taxa and the other represents a primarily Old World lineage. Relationships within the major lineages were poorly resolved by morphology and ITS, yet certain relationships were elucidated by all analyses. Most notable is the strong support for a monophyletic lineage of dwarf taxa and the alliance of the North American N. microphylla with the Eurasian taxa. Minor discordance between the independent cladograms is accounted for by hybridization. The common taxonomic practice of uniting all North American and Eurasian taxa under one species is not supported phylogenetically.

Original Citation

Padgett, D.J., Les, D.H., Crow, G.E. (1999). Phylogenetic relationships in Nuphar (Nymphaeaceae): Evidence from morphology, chloroplast DNA, and nuclear ribosomal DNA. American Journal of Botany, 86(9), 1316-1324.

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