Journal: Taxon
Volume: 64
Pages: 79-95


This is the first phylogenetic study focused on the Pavetteae, one of the most species-rich and morphologically diverse tribes within the coffee family (Rubiaceae). Fifteen of the 17 currently recognized genera, represented by 85 taxa, were sequenced for rps16, trnT-F and ITS and analysed using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood methods. The monophyly of the Pavetteae is confirmed. Four major lineages are identified, but their phylogenetic relationships are not fully resolved. The continental African genera Rutidea, Nichallea and Tennantia, the Madagascan genera Homollea and Robbrechtia, and the paleotropical genus Pavetta are monophyletic. Other genera are paraphyletic in their current circumscriptions and the following changes are made: Homolliella is placed in synonymy with Paracephaelis, and Coleactina and Dictyandra with Leptactina, resulting in four new combinations. The large paleotropical genus Tarenna is shown not to be monophyletic. In the future, the name Tarenna should not be used for continental African species. Most of these could be transferred to the hitherto monospecific genus Cladoceras, but other species might constitute altogether new genera. The relationship between the monophyletic Asian-Pacific and Madagascan Tarenna species remains unclear. The phylogeny of the Madagascan genera of the Pavetteae is largely unresolved and the largest Madagascar-centred genus Coptosperma was not recovered as monophyletic. The low resolution for the Madagascan taxa can be considered as an indication of rapid radiation. Further molecular and morphological studies are necessary to clarify the phylogeny of the Pavetteae, especially regarding the African Tarenna species and the Madagascan genera of the tribe.