Analysis of three plastid DNA sequences for a broad sampling of Amaryllidaceae resolve the American genera of the Amaryllidaceae as a clade that is sister to the Eurasian genera of the family, but base substitution rates for these genes are too low to resolve much of the intergeneric relationships within the American clade. We obtained ITS rDNA sequences for 76 species of American Amaryllidaceae and analyzed the aligned matrix cladistically, both with and without gaps included, using two species of Pancratium as outgroup taxa. ITS resolves two moderately to strongly supported groups, an Andean tetraploid clade, and a primarily extra-Andean “hippeastroid” clade. Within the hippeastroid clade, the tribe Griffineae is resolved as sister to the rest of Hippeastreae. The genera Rhodophiala and Zephyranthes are resolved as polyphyletic, but the possibility of reticulation within this clade argues against any re-arrangement of these genera without further investigation. Within the Andean subclade, Eustephieae resolves as sister to all other tribes; a distinct petiolate-leafed group is resolved, combining the tribe Eucharideae and the petiolate Stenomesseae; and a distinct Hymenocallideae is supported. These Andean clades are all at least partially supported by plastid sequence data as well. We infer from our data that a great deal of the diversity of the family in the Americas is recent, and that the American Amaryllidaceae may have been reduced to peripheral isolates some time after its initial entry and spread through the Americas. While the sister relationship of the American and Eurasian clades might argue for a Boreotropical origin for the family in America, the cladistic relationships within the American clade based on ITS do not provide any further support for this or any other hypothesis of the family's entry into America. The new tribe Clinantheae is described (four genera: Clinanthus, Pamianthe, Paramongaia, and Pucara), and the lorate-leafed species of Stenomesson are transferred to Clinanthus.
Communicating Editor: Kathleen A. Kron