Phylogenetic analyses based on molecular data revealed that the Venezuelan endemic, Opuntia lilae, considered a species of Opuntia s.s. since its description, actually represents a species of the mostly Brazilian clade, Tacinga. Through ancestral state reconstruction, we also identify morphological synapomorphies of the Tacinga clade, which further support the relationship of Tacinga and Opuntia lilae. We herein transfer Opuntia lilae to the genus Tacinga, making the combination Tacinga lilae. The existence of a species of Tacinga in northeastern Venezuela suggests that members of the Tacinga clade may have previously been more widespread than their current distribution suggests or that members of the Tacinga clade may have been dispersed long distance from the Caatinga of Brazil, where Tacinga most likely originated.
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Vol. 38 • No. 2