Phylogenetics of subtribe Orchidinae based on seven markers implications for generic delimitation

Phylogenetics of subtribe Orchidinae s.l.(Orchidaceae; Orchidoideae) based on seven markers (plastid matK, psaB, rbcL, trnL-F, trnH-psba, and nuclear nrITS, Xdh): implications for generic delimitation

Subtribe Orchidinae (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae) are a nearly cosmopolitan taxon of terrestrial orchids, comprising about 1800 species in 47 to 60 genera. Although much progress has been made in recent years of phylogenetics of Orchidinae, considerable problems remain to be addressed. Based on molecular phylogenetics, we attempt to illustrate the phylogenetic relationships and discuss generic delimitation within Orchidinae. Seven DNA markers (five plastid and two nuclear), a broad sampling of Orchidinae (400 species in 52 genera) and three methods of phylogenetic analysis (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference) were used.

Orchidinae s.l. are monophyletic. Satyrium is sister to the rest of Orchidinae s.l. Brachycorythis and Schizochilus are successive sister to Asian-European Orchidinae s.s. Sirindhornia and Shizhenia are successive sister to clade formed by Tsaiorchis-Hemipilia-Ponerorchis alliance. Stenoglottis is sister to the Habenaria-Herminium-Peristylus alliance. Habenaria, currently the largest genus in Orchidinae, is polyphyletic and split into two distant clades: one Asian-Australian and the other African–American–Asian. Diplomeris is sister to Herminium s.l. plus Asian-Australian Habenaria.

Conclusions: We propose to recognize five genera in the Ponerorchis alliance: Hemipilia, Ponerorchis s.l., Sirindhornia, Shizhenia and Tsaiorchis. Splitting Habenaria into two genera based on morphological characters and geographical distribution may be the least disruptive approach, and it is reasonable to keep Satyrium in Orchidinae.


Representative species of Orchidinae. a, Shizhenia pinguicula; b, Galearis spathulata; c, Platanthera bakeriana; d, Habenaria davidii; e, Gennaria griffthii; f, Habenaria linguella; g, Bonatea steudneri; h. Pecteilis susannae. (a by Weitao Jin, g by Bing Liu, others by Xiaohua Jin)