The Mediterranean region has cradled the evolution of many European plant taxa, including grass genera. Chumová et al. use a multidisciplinary approach combining sequence data, rDNA FISH, climatic niche characterization and spatio-temporal modelling to investigate the evolutionary relationships of diploid Anthoxanthum (Poaceae) members.
The Balkans and Apennines are identified as the source area of diploid diversity, with climatic changes starting in the Miocene acting as the main factors promote taxa differentiation. A. gracile and A. alpinum were the only well-differentiated lineages. The taxonomically uncertain ‘Mediterranean diploid’ is a possible relic of the most recent common ancestor of the other diploid taxa.
This paper is part of the Annals of Botany Special Issue on Polyploidy in Ecology and Evolution. It will be free access until October 2017, then available only to subscribers until August 2018 when it will be free access again.