Tribal delimitation and phylogenetic relationships of Loteae and Coronilleae (Faboideae: Fabaceae) with special reference to Lotus: Evidence from nuclear ribosomal ITS sequences

Gerard J Allan, J. M. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

66 Scopus citations


The temperate herbaceous tribes Loteae and Coronilleae have traditionally been regarded as taxonomically distinct entities. More recent morphological assessments, however, have challenged this view and suggest combining the two tribes under Loteae. Two key features used to distinguish the Coronilleae from Loteae include jointed fruits and branched root nodules. We evaluate the taxonomic utility of these characters using information derived from phylogenetic analyses of the internal transcribed spacers ITS1 + 2, and the intervening 5.8S region of nuclear ribosomal DNA. Results from this study show that neither the Loteae nor Coronilleae form individual monophyletic groups, and that key fruit and root nodule characters used to distinguish the Coronilleae are homoplastic. Given these data, we support the recognition of a single tribe, Loteae. We also find that Lotus, the largest and most morphologically complex genus in either tribe, is not monophyletic. Rather, it consists of two geographically distinct lineages, Old and New World, each of which are more closely related to other Loteae genera: Old World Lotus are more closely related to Old World Anthyllis, while New World Lotus show closer affinities to Old World Coronilla. These data also have important implications for the biogeography of New World Lotus: Equally most parsimonious reconstructions suggest a complex scenario of intemontinental dispersals that involve not only Old World Lotus but Coronilla as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1871-1881
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes



  • Coronilleae
  • Fabaceae
  • Internal transcribed spacer
  • Loteae
  • Lotus
  • Phylogeny

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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