Systematics of Lamiaceae Subfamily Viticoideae

Vitex pinnata L. from Binh Chao, Vietnam

The recent re-curation of the Lamiaceae by Harley and others in 2004, and molecular phylogenetic work has shown that the subfamily Viticoideae is not a natural group, and the placement of economically important genera such as Tectona and Vitex is uncertain.  The Viticoideae are also poorly known taxonomically, and are hence becoming a new focus for the Lamiaceae team.  To address these problems, this project has two parts:

1.  Molecular systematics: the first objective is to provide a more robust phylogeny to determine where the subfamily Viticoideae is placed in relation to the remainder of the Lamiaceae.  This phylogeny will then act as a backbone for more detailed studies on Viticoideae genera.  The main focus at Kew will be on the genus Vitex, in support of ongoing taxonomic work, but, in collaboration with students from Indo-China and SE Asia, we will also be studying the genera Callicarpa and Premna in more detail. 

2.  Taxonomic revisions and treatments for floras:  the primary aim is to further our morphologically based taxonomic knowledge of the Viticoideae.  This will involve taxonomic treatments of the major genera, particularly Vitex, Callicarpa and Premna, especially in SE Asia.  This will also enable us to complete accounts for the Tree Flora of Sabah and Sarawak, Flora of Peninsular Malaysia and for Flora Malesiana.  Taxonomic work on Vitex has already resulted in revisions of the species in New Guinea and Malesia.  The genus Callicarpa has been revised for the island of Borneo, and a revision of Teijsmanniodendron is in press.

Project Team

Project Leader: Bramley, Gemma


Gemma Bramley, Rogier de Kok, Alan Paton

Jodrell Laboratory

Vincent Savolainen, Monique Simmonds

Project Partners and Collaborators


Universiti Putra Malaysia

Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM)


University of Coimbra


Khon Kaen University


Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh



Golden Jubilee PhD Programme


Bentham Moxon Trust