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Cladistic Tests of Hypotheses Concerning Evolution of Xerophytes and Mesophytes Within Tillandsia Subg Phytarrhiza (Bromeliaceae)

Gilmartin, A. J.
Brown, Gregory K.
Tillandsia L. Subg. Phytarrhiza (Visiani) Baker (Bromeliaceae) is a distinctive group of about 35 epiphytic species. These exhibit a range of habits from xeric to mesic. The evolutionary relationships of the contrasting adaptations need to be established here as well as in the subfamily as a whole. Relations between the subgenus and other tillandsioids are problematical and phylogenetic reconstruction of its member-species would be facilitated by identification of Phytarrhiza's relative (sister taxon) sharing the same most recent common ancestor with Phytarrhiza. This paper examines the two most likely sister taxa, Subg. Pseudo-Catopsis Baker and Subg. Diaphoranthema (Beer) Baker. Diaphoranthema is rejected as sister taxon. The accepted evolutionary tree, rooted by Pseudo-Catopsis, indicates that most habital evolutionary changes in Phytarrhiza have been between mesic and semi-mesic forms and from mesic to xeric forms. Methods developed for testing specific evolutionary hypotheses are broadly applicable.
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