Phylogenetics, biogeography, and staminal evolution in the tribe Mentheae (Lamiaceae)

Bryan T. Drew, Kenneth J. Sytsma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


Premise of the study: The mint family (Lamiaceae) is the sixth largest family of filowering plants, with the tribe Mentheae containing about a third of the species. We present a detailed perspective on the evolution of the tribe Mentheae based on a phylogenetic analysis of cpDNA and nrDNA that is the most comprehensive to date, a biogeographic set of analyses using a fossil-calibrated chronogram, and an examination of staminal evolution. Methods: Data from four cpDNA and two nrDNA markers representing all extant genera within the tribe Mentheae were analyzed using the programs BEAST, Lagrange, S-DIVA, and BayesTraits. BEAST was used to simultaneously estimate phylogeny and divergence times, Lagrange and S-DIVA were used for biogeographical reconstruction, and BayesTraits was used to infer staminal evolution within the tribe. Key results: Currently accepted subtribal delimitations are shown to be invalid and are updated. The Mentheae and all five of its subtribes have a Mediterranean origin and have dispersed to the New World multiple times. The vast majority of New World species of subtribe Menthinae are the product of a single dispersal event in the mid-late Miocene. At least four transitions from four stamens to two stamens have occurred within Mentheae, once in the subtribe Salviinae, once in the subtribe Lycopinae, and at least twice in the subtribe Menthinae. Conclusions: Worldwide cooling trends probably played a large role in the diversification and present day distribution of the tribe Mentheae. Additional work is needed to ascertain relationships within some Mentheae genera, especially in the subtribe Menthinae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-953
Number of pages21
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Biogeography
  • DEC
  • Mentheae
  • Staminal evolution
  • ycf1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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