Evolution and classification of figs (Ficus, Moraceae) and their close relatives (Castilleae) united by involucral bracts

Wendy L. Clement, Sam Bruun-Lund, Alanna Cohen, Finn Kjellberg, George D. Weiblen, Nina Rønsted

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Figs and fig wasps are a classic example of an obligate pollination mutualism. Decades of work untangling the ecology and evolution of these organisms has simultaneously contributed to development of the fields of mutualism, coevolution and plant-insect interactions at large. With > 800 species, figs (Ficus, Moraceae) are among some of the larger genera of angiosperms. Phylogenetic studies of Moraceae have supported the clade Castilleae as the sister lineage of Ficus. Compared to Ficus, Castilleae have many fewer species (60 species in 11 genera), suggesting changes in rates of diversification along these two branches. Relatively little is known about Castilleae compared to Ficus, and we argue that defining the clade comprising Ficus and Castilleae, hereafter Involucrata, focuses attention on opportunities for comparative studies of pollination mutualisms and diversification rates. In this study, we define Involucrata and propose a revised classification scheme that accounts for the phylogenetic reconstruction based on the most comprehensive sampling of this group to date. Moving forward, this classification will better guide and support evolutionary, ecological and comparative pollination biology studies of this group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-339
Number of pages24
JournalBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 19 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank B. Chantarasuwan, J.M. Cook, D. Dixon, F. Forest, R. Harrison, B. Isua, E. Jousselin, R. de Kok, O. Maurin, C. Michenaud, H. Navarrete, D. Neill, K. Oyama, Y. Qiong-Peng, S. Swensen, R. Valencia, J. Wright, the Herbario Nacional del Ecuador (QCNE), Jatun Sacha Foundation, and the Forest Dynamics Plot of Yasuní National Park for providing assistance in obtaining material or permissions for this study. This work was supported by Garden Club of America, Explorer’s Club and American Society of Plant Taxonomists Graduate awards to WLC,an International Network Grant from the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation & Education, 2012 to NR, WLC and GDW, the Independent Research Fund Denmark grant (7014-00205) to NR and SBL, an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (0603768) to WLC and GDW and an NSF DEB grant (0128833) to GDW.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society.


  • Asperae
  • Involucrata
  • Mixtiflores
  • Noyera
  • external transcribed spacer
  • paralogy
  • phylogenetic reconstruction


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