The perplexing ancestral phylogenetic placement of Blossfeldia liliputana based on chloroplast DNA can possibly be explained by (1) the hybrid origin and uniparental inheritance of chloroplasts in Blossfeldia and (2) the DNA samples originating from the grafting stock upon which the Blossfeldia was cultivated. The problem with the first of these hypotheses is that nobody knows whether chloroplasts are inherited from one or both parents in Blossfeldia nor how this inheritance pattern may have changed in ancestors of Blossfeldia. Phylogenetic reconstructions of species trees assume that the mode of organelle inheritance is known, and these phylogenies are confounded by reticulate evolution. The problem with the second hypothesis is that most cultivated specimens of Blossfeldia are grafted and nobody is certain whether or not these readily form graft-chimeras. Until both hypotheses are tested, B. liliputana should be considered a highly derived member of the subfamily Cactoideae, as indicated by morphological data.
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