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24 March 2016 Which changes are needed to render all genera of the German flora monophyletic?
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Abstract

The use of DNA sequence data in plant systematics has brought us closer than ever to formulating well-founded hypotheses about phylogenetic relationships, and phylogenetic research keeps on revealing that plant genera as traditionally circumscribed often are not monophyletic. Here, we assess the monophyly of all genera of vascular plants found in Germany. Using a survey of the phylogenetic literature, we discuss which classifications would be consistent with the phylogenetic relationships found and could be followed, provided monophyly is accepted as the primary criterion for circumscribing taxa. We indicate whether and which names are available when changes in generic assignment are made (but do not present a comprehensive review of the nomenclatural aspects of such names). Among the 840 genera examined, we identified c. 140 where data quality is sufficiently high to conclude that they are not monophyletic, and an additional c. 20 where monophyly is questionable but where data quality is not yet sufficient to reach convincing conclusions. While it is still fiercely debated how a phylogenetic tree should be translated into a classification, our results could serve as a guide to the likely consequences of systematic research for the taxonomy of the German flora and the floras of neighbouring countries.

Version of record first published online on 24 March 2016 ahead of inclusion in April 2016 issue.

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