Familial Placement and Relations of Rehmannia and Triaenophora (Scrophulariaceae s.l.) Inferred from Five Gene Regions

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Accurate classification systems based on evolution are imperative for biological investigations. The recent explosion of molecular phylogenetics has resulted in a much improved classification of angiosperms. More than five phylogenetic lineages have been recognized from Scrophulariaceae sensu lato since the family was determined to be polyphyletic; however, questions remain about the genera that have not been assigned to one of the segregate families of Scrophulariaceae s.l. Rehmannia Liboschitz and Triaenophora Solereder are such genera with uncertain familial placement. There also is debate whether Triaenophora should be segregated from Rehmannia. To evaluate the phylogenetic relations between Rehmannia and Triaenophora, to find their closest relatives, and to verify their familial placement, we conducted phylogenetic analyses of the sequences of one nuclear DNA (ITS) region and four chloroplast DNA gene regions (trnL-F, rps16, rbcL, and rps2) individually and combined. The analyses showed that Rehmannia and Triaenophora are each strongly supported as monophyletic and together are sister to Orobanchaceae. This relation was corroborated by phytochemical and morphological data. Based on these data, we suggest that Rehmannia and Triaenophora represent the second nonparasitic branch sister to the remainder of Orobanchaceae (including Lindenbergia).