Nucleotide sequence data from the chloroplast genome from the non-coding trnL-trnF intron and spacer corroborate previous suggestions about the monophyly of the African Restionaceae. These data, combined with a morphological character set, show that neither Staberoha nor Ischyrolepis are basal to the African Restionaceae but rather are embedded in the Restio clade. There is strong support for a basal dichotomy that separates the woody nut Willdenowia clade from the soft nut and capsular Restio clade. However, the resolution within these two clades is poor, possibly suggesting recent radiation. The monophyly of the genera Elegia, Staberoha, Thamnochortus, Ischyrolepis, Cannomois, and Ceratocaryum is corroborated (albeit on very small sample sizes), but Chondropetalum, Restio, Calopsis, Hypodiscus, Anthochortus and Willdenowia are shown to be para- or polyphyletic. Dovea, Askidiosperma, Rhodocoma, Platycaulos, Mastersiella, Hydrophilos, and Nevillea are either monotypic, or have been represented by a single species in this analysis, and consequently their monophyly cannot be evaluated. It is evident that despite massive generic redelimitations in the family 15 years ago, more changes will have to be made in order to establish a taxonomy of monophyletic genera.
Communicating Editor: Matt Lavin