The palmsWilliam J. Hahn
This tree diagram shows the relationships between several groups of organisms.
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The palms are one of the most distinctive groups of land plants and show some of the greatest morphological diversity among all monocots. They are characteristic elements of the tropics and subtropics of the world where they are of considerable economic and ecological importance. Well-known members include the coconut (Cocos nucifera), the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), the oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), and many ornamental species. The superorder includes 1 family, 200 genera, and approximately 2000 species.
The palms are a readily identifiable group although no consistent morphological synapomorphies are known for the family. Uhl and Dransfield (1987) and Uhl, et al. (1995) have identified two principal diagnostic characters: 1) "woody" stems (due to fibrous sclerenchya, not secondary-growth), and 2) the leaves plicate in bud and later split in most groups.
Discussion of Phylogenetic Relationships
Terminal taxa are based on the Major Groups of Moore (1973) and the updated taxonomy of Uhl and Dransfield (1986, 1987).
Dransfield, J, IK Ferguson, & NW Uhl. 1990. The Coryphoid Palms: patterns of variation and evolution. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 77: 802-815.
Hahn, WJ, WJ Kress, & EA Zimmer. 1995. Molecular sequence evolution of the Palmae - A study in deep branch phylogenetics. Amer. J. Bot. 82 (6 - Supplement): 133.
Moore, HE Jr. & NW Uhl. 1982. Major trends of evolution in palms. Bot. Rev. 48(1): 1-69.
Uhl, NW & J Dransfield. 1987. Genera Palamarum: A Classification of Palms Based on the Work of Harold E. Moore, Jr. Allen Press, Lawrence, Kansas.
Uhl, NW, J Dransfield, JI Davis, MA Luckow, KS Hansen, and JJ Doyle. 1995. Phylogenetic relationships among palms: Cladistic analyses of morphological and chloroplast DNA restriction site variation. pp 623-661 in: PJ Rudall, PJ Cribb, DF Cutler, and CJ Humphries (eds.) Monocotyledons: systematics and evolution. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
About This Page
Georgetown University, Washington, D. C., USA
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Citing this page:
Hahn, William J. 1997. Arecanae. The palms. Version 01 January 1997 (under construction). http://tolweb.org/Arecanae/21337/1997.01.01 in The Tree of Life Web Project, http://tolweb.org/