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Extensive molecular phylogenetic analyses of the Sonchus alliance by Kim & al. (1996, 1997, 1999a,b, 2004, 2007) revealed that the genus Dendroseris, and, according to yet unpublished results (Kim, pers. comm., March 2007) also the monospecific genus Thamnoseris, both formerly included in a separate subtribe Dendroseridinae, are part of the Sonchinae and the Sonchus alliance in particular.

Recent molecular phylogenetic analyses by Gemeinholzer & al. (in Kilian & al. 2009; Kim & al. pers. comm., March 2007) revealed that also Aposeris (lacking a pappus) and Hyoseris (with an inner pappus of basally strongly widened bristles) have to be included in the Sonchinae. Blackmore (1981) stated that the palynological evidence is inconclusive for the placement of Hyoseris, reflecting a possible relationship to the Hypochaeris alliance as likely as to the Launaea-Reichardia-Sonchus alliance. Molecular analyses by Samuel & al. (2003) revealed that neither species is a member of the Hypochaeridinae. Aposeris is sister to all other genera of this subtribe, which are rather closely related to each other, while Hyoseris is sister to the clade including Launaea, Reichardia and the Sonchus alliance. Inclusion of Hyoseris required a change of name of the subtribe from Sonchinae to Hyoseridinae because of the priority rule.

The various species-poor genera, established within the Sonchus alliance for species of the Canary Islands (Chrysoprenanthes, Babcockia, Lactucosonchus, Sventenia, Taeckholmia, Wildpretia) and of Australia/New Zealand (Actites, Embergia, Kirkianella), were nested within Sonchus in all recent molecular phylogenetic analyses (Kim & al. 1996, 1997, 1999a, b, 2004, 2007). The same has been confirmed for the monospecific Mediterranean Aetheorhiza as well as for Dendroseris and Thamnoseris, endemic to the Pacific Juan Fernandez and Desventuradas Islands, respectively (Kim & al. 2007; S.-C. Kim, pers. comm., March 2007). The Canarian, Mediterranean and Australian/New Zealandean genera are morphologically questionably distinct from Sonchus and their inclusion in Sonchus seems therefore a justified consequence. The case may appear different with respect to Dendroseris (Carlquist 1966; Crawford & al. 1992; Sang & al. 1994) and Thamnoseris, which apparently have evolved from within Sonchus after long-distant dispersal to these Pacific island groups. They may be exemplary for the need to accept, whenever appropriate, also paraphyletic genera as long as we want taxonomy to reflect evolution (Brummitt 2002, 2008, Hörandl 2007). Mejías & Kim (2012), however, came, also after an extensive review of the literature on these genera, to the conclusion that Dendroseris and Thamnoseris should best be included in Sonchus and provided the corresponding nomenclatural combinations. The treatment here follows these authors.


Blackmore S. 1981: Palynology and intergeneric relationships in subtribe Hyoseridinae (Compositae: Lactuceae). – Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 82: 1-13.

Brummitt R. K. 2002: How to chop a tree. – Taxon 51: 31-41.

Brummitt R. K. 2008: Evolution in taxonomic perspective. – Taxon 57: 1049-1050.
Carlquist S. 1966: The biota of long-distance dispersal II. Loss of dispersibility in Pacific Compositae. – Evolution 20: 30-48.

Crawford D. J., Stuessy T. F., Haines D. W., Cosner M. B.,Silva O. M. & Lopez P. 1992: Evolution of the genus Dendroseris (Asteraceae: Lactuceae) on the Juan Fernandez Islands: evidence from chloroplast and ribosomal DNA. – Syst. Bot. 17: 676-682.

Hörandl E. 2007: Neglecting evolution is bad taxonomy. – Taxon 56: 1-5.

Kilian N., Gemeinholzer B. & Lack H. W. 2009: Tribe Cichorieae. – In: Funk V. A., Susanna A., Stuessy T. & Bayer R. (ed.), Systematics, evolution, and biogeography of the Compositae. – Vienna: IAPT.

Kim S.-C., Crawford D. J., Francisco-Ortega J. & Santos-Guerra A. 1996: A common origin for woody Sonchus and five related genera in the Macaronesian islands: molecular evidence for extensive radiation. – Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. US 93: 7743-7748.

Kim S.-C., Crawford D. J. & Jansen R. K. 1997: Phylogenetic relationships among the genera of the subtribe Sonchinae (Asteraceae): evidence from ITS sequences. – Syst. Bot. 21: 417-432.

Kim S.-C., Crawford D. J., Francisco-Ortega J. & Santos-Guerra A. 1999a: Adaptive radiation and genetic differentiation in the woody Sonchus alliance (Asteraceae: Sonchinae) in the Canary Islands. – Pl. Syst. Evol. 215: 101-118.

Kim S.-C., Crawford D. J., Jansen R. K. & Santos-Guerra A. 1999b: The use of a non-coding region of chloroplast DNA in phylogenetic studies of the subtribe Sonchinae (Asteraceae: Lactuceae). – Pl. Syst. Evol. 215: 85-99.

Kim S.-C., Lu C. T. & Lepschi B. J. 2004: Phylogenetic positions of Actites megalocarpa and Sonchus hydrophilus (Sonchinae: Asteraceae) based on ITS and chloroplast non-coding DNA sequences. – Austral. Syst. Bot. 17: 73-81.

Kim S.-C., Lee C. & Mejías J. A. 2007: Phylogenetic analysis of chloroplast DNA matK gene and ITS of nrDNA sequences reveals polyphyly of the genus Sonchus and new relationships among the subtribe Sonchinae (Asteraceae: Cichorieae). – Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 44: 578-597.

Mejias J. A. & Kim S.-C. 2012: Taxonomic treatment of Cichorieae (Asteraceae) endemic to the Juan Fernandez and Desventuradas Islands (SE Pacific). – Ann. Bot. Fenn. 49: 171–178.

Samuel R., Stuessy T. F., Tremetsberger K., Baeza C. M. & Siljak Yakovlev S. 2003: Phylogenetic relationships among species of Hypochaeris (Asteraceae, Cichorieae) based on ITS, plastid trnL intron, trnL-F spacer, and matK sequences. – Amer. J. Bot. 90: 496-507.

Sang T., Crawford D. J., Kim S.-C. & Stuessy T. F. 1994: Radiation of the endemic genus Dendroseris (Asteraceae) on the Juan Fernandez Islands: evidence from sequences of the ITS regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA. – Amer. J. Bot. 81: 1494-1501.


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Kim S.-C. 2009: Systematic (data).