The tribe Crescentieae includes Amphitecna (21 species), Crescentia (six species), and Parmentiera (10 species), three genera of understory trees with a center of diversity in Central America and a small number of species in the Antilles and northern South America. Species in Crescentieae are united by their fleshy, indehiscent fruit and cauliflorous, bat-pollinated flowers. To lay a foundation for examining morphological, ecological, and biogeographic patterns within the tribe, we inferred the phylogeny for Crescentieae using both chloroplast (ndhF, trnL-F) and nuclear markers (PepC, ITS). The most recent circumscription of Crescentieae, containing Amphitecna, Crescentia, and Parmentiera is supported by our phylogenetic results. Likewise, the sister relationship between Crescentieae and the Antillean-endemic Spirotecoma is also corroborated by our findings. This relationship implies the evolution of fleshy and indehiscent fruits from dry and dehiscent ones, as well as the evolution of bat pollination from insect pollination. Fruits and seeds from species in Crescentieae are consumed by humans, ungulates, birds, and fish.
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Vol. 46 • No. 1