Ahossou O. D., Daïnou K., Janssens S. B., Triest, Hardy O. J.

[2020] Species delimitation and phylogeography of African tree populations of the genus Parkia (Fabaceae). Tree Genetics & Genomes 16:68, 15p.

In the pantropical mimosoid legume genus Parkia, taxonomic classification has remained controversial in Africa due to clinal phenotypic variations. Three species (P. biglobosa, P. bicolor, and P. filicoidea) are currently recognized, ranging from West to East Africa, with partially overlapping ranges across different floristic regions. However, additional taxa (species or varieties) have been suggested by different authors. To assess species boundaries of African Parkia and phylogeographic patterns within species, we genotyped 889 individuals using 10 microsatellite markers and compared our results with existing morphological descriptions. Bayesian genetic clustering confirmed the species boundaries assessed from morphological traits and did not reveal
introgression but identified genetic discontinuities within each species. Six moderately differentiated genetic clusters were recovered in P. biglobosa (pairwise FST: 0.05–0.19), while P. bicolor and P. filicoidea, each, displayed four welldifferentiated clusters (FST: 0.18–0.41 and 0.11–0.34, respectively). Within each species, genetic clusters occurred in parapatry. Parkia biglobosa clusters were congruent with the longitudinal clinal variation in leaflets sizes but 26% of individuals presented admixed genotypes. Genetic clusters in P. bicolor and P. filicoidea followed environmental gradients as well as phytogeographic subdivisions. They were also largely congruent with morphological discontinuities described in previous taxonomic studies and < 10% individuals showed admixed genotypes. We conclude that only one species (P. biglobosa) should be considered in the Guineo-Sudanian savanna. However, P. bicolor and P. filicoidea might each represent a complex of (sub)species. Thus, the hypotheses of cryptic species within P. bicolor and P. filicoidea should be further investigated by testing reproductive barriers.

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