Journal: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Volume: 47
Pages: 1030-1044


Alchemilla (the lady’s mantles) is a well known but inconspicuous group in the Rosaceae, notable for its ornamental leaves and pharmaceutical properties. The systematics of Alchemilla has remained poorly understood, most likely due to confusion resulting from apomixis, polyploidisation and hybridisation, which are frequently observed in the group, and which have led to the description of a large number of (micro-) species. A molecular phylogeny of the genus, including all sections of Alchemilla and Lachemilla as well as five representatives of Aphanes, based on the analysis of the chloroplast trnL–trnF and the nuclear ITS regions is presented here. Gene phylogenies reconstructed from the nuclear and chloroplast sequence data were largely congruent. Limited conflict between the data partitions was observed with respect to a small number of taxa. This is likely to be the result of hybridisation/introgression or incomplete lineage sorting. Four distinct clades were resolved, corresponding to major geographical division and life forms: Eurasian Alchemilla, annual Aphanes, South American Lachemilla and African Alchemilla. We argue for a wider circumscription of the genus Alchemilla, including Lachemilla and Aphanes, based on the morphology and the phylogenetic relationships between the different clades.