Molecular Systematics

Angiosperm Taxonomy and Classification

The main groups of current interest are:

  • petaloid monocotyledons (including orchids, irises, lilies, onions, asparagus and aloes)

  • rosid dicotyledons (including legumes, oaks, cotton, walnuts, mustards, grapes, cucumbers and members of the rose family, such as apples, peaches and strawberries)

Molecular data, in this case DNA sequences, provide a new dimension to our understanding of relationships and classification. These are of particular importance when interpretations of data from sources such as morphology, anatomy and palynology (the study of pollen) conflict. DNA data help us to resolve such conflict, and lead to a clearer definition of relationships among flowering plants. This, in turn, provides a better understanding of the evolution of plant structures and breeding systems.