Authors: Friðgeir Grímsson, Guido W. Grimm, Reinhard Zetter
Earlier studies indicate a strong correlation of pollen morphology and ultrastructure with taxonomy in Loranthaceae. Using high-resolution light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy imaging of the same pollen grains, we document pollen types of 35 genera including 15 studied for the first time. Using a molecular phylogenetic framework based on currently available sequence data with good genus-coverage, we reconstruct trends in the evolution of Loranthaceae pollen and pinpoint traits of high diagnostic value, partly confirming earlier intuitive hypotheses based on morphological observations. We find that pollen morphology in Loranthaceae is strongly linked to phylogenetic relationships. Some pollen types are diagnostic for discrete genera or evolutionary lineages, opening the avenue to recruitdispersed fossil pollen as age constraints for dated phylogenies and as independent data for testing biogeographic scenarios; so far based exclusively on modern-day data. Correspondences and discrepancies between palynological and molecular data and current taxonomic/systematic concepts are identified and suggestions made for future palynological and molecular investigations of Loranthaceae.
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