Phylogenetic relationships of functionally dioecious Ficus (Moraceae) based on ribosomal DNA sequences and morphology

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Figs (Ficus, Moraceae) are either monoecious or gynodioecious depending on the arrangement of unisexual florets within the specialized inflorescence or syconium. The gynodioecious species are functionally dioecious due to the impact of pollinating fig wasps (Hymenoptera: Agaonidae) on the maturation of fig seeds. The evolutionary relationships of functionally dioecious figs (Ficus subg. Ficus) were examined through phylogenetic analyses based on the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA and morphology. Forty-six species representing each monoecious subgenus and each section of functionally dioecious subg. Ficus were included in parsimony analyses based on 180 molecular characters and 61 morphological characters that were potentially informative. Separate and combined analyses of molecular and morphological data sets suggested that functionally dioecious figs are not monophyletic and that monoecious subg. Sycomorus is derived within a dioecious clade. The combined analysis indicated one or two origins of functional dioecy in the genus and at least two reversals to monoecy within a functionally dioecious lineage. The exclusion of breeding system and related characters from the analysis also indicated two shifts from monoecy to functional dioecy and two reversals. The associations of pollinating fig wasps were congruent with host fig phylogeny and further supported a revised classification of Ficus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1342-1357
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2000


  • Breeding system evolution
  • Coevolution
  • Dioecy
  • Ficus
  • Moraceae
  • Phylogeny
  • Pollination


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