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Plant Diversity and Resources

Resurrection of the East Asian genus Eremotropa (Monotropoideae, Ericaceae), based on molecular and morphological data

Qian-Ru Zhao1,2,3, Jing Zhou4, Hua Peng1*, and Zhen-Wen Liu1*

1Key Laboratory for Plant Diversity and Biogeography of East Asia, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China

2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

3School of Life Sciences, Yunnan University, Kunming, Yunnan 650091, China

4School of Pharmaceutical Science &Yunnan Key Laboratory of Pharmacology for Natural Products, Kunming Medical University, Kunming 650500, China

Keywords: Eremotropa, Ericaceae, Monotropastrum, Monotropoideae, Resurrection


The monotypic genus Eremotropa (Monotropoideae, Ericaceae) is endemic to central Yunnan. It was first described by Andres in 1953, and was subsequently treated as a synonym of Monotropastrum (1987); however, the phylogenetic placement of this genus has not, to date, been investigated. In this study, phylogenetic analyses were conducted using DNA sequences from the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) from all species of Monotropoideae available in GenBank. Comparative morphological studies on Eremotropa, Monotropastrum and Monotropa were also carried out. The molecular phylogenetic evidence suggests that Eremotropa is sister to a clade formed by Monotropa and the remaining species of Monotropastrum, thus rendering Monotropastrum not monophyletic. Morphologically, Eremotropa differs from Monotropastrum in plant color, inflorescence type, length of the style and size of the baccate fruit. Consequently, molecular and morphological evidence supports the resurrection of Eremotropa, which contains only one species, E. sciaphila, as distinct from Monotropastrum.

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