An updated tribal classification of Lamiaceae based on plastome phylogenomics

Fei Zhao, Ya Ping Chen, Yasaman Salmaki, Bryan T. Drew, Trevor C. Wilson, Anne Cathrine Scheen, Ferhat Celep, Christian Bräuchler, Mika Bendiksby, Qiang Wang, Dao Zhang Min, Hua Peng, Richard G. Olmstead, Bo Li, Chun Lei Xiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Background: A robust molecular phylogeny is fundamental for developing a stable classification and providing a solid framework to understand patterns of diversification, historical biogeography, and character evolution. As the sixth largest angiosperm family, Lamiaceae, or the mint family, consitutes a major source of aromatic oil, wood, ornamentals, and culinary and medicinal herbs, making it an exceptionally important group ecologically, ethnobotanically, and floristically. The lack of a reliable phylogenetic framework for this family has thus far hindered broad-scale biogeographic studies and our comprehension of diversification. Although significant progress has been made towards clarifying Lamiaceae relationships during the past three decades, the resolution of a phylogenetic backbone at the tribal level has remained one of the greatest challenges due to limited availability of genetic data. Results: We performed phylogenetic analyses of Lamiaceae to infer relationships at the tribal level using 79 protein-coding plastid genes from 175 accessions representing 170 taxa, 79 genera, and all 12 subfamilies. Both maximum likelihood and Bayesian analyses yielded a more robust phylogenetic hypothesis relative to previous studies and supported the monophyly of all 12 subfamilies, and a classification for 22 tribes, three of which are newly recognized in this study. As a consequence, we propose an updated phylogenetically informed tribal classification for Lamiaceae that is supplemented with a detailed summary of taxonomic history, generic and species diversity, morphology, synapomorphies, and distribution for each subfamily and tribe. Conclusions: Increased taxon sampling conjoined with phylogenetic analyses based on plastome sequences has provided robust support at both deep and shallow nodes and offers new insights into the phylogenetic relationships among tribes and subfamilies of Lamiaceae. This robust phylogenetic backbone of Lamiaceae will serve as a framework for future studies on mint classification, biogeography, character evolution, and diversification. Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Lamiaceae
  • Lamioideae
  • Mints
  • Phylogenomics
  • Tribal relationships

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Structural Biology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Plant Science
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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