The classification of the economically important genus Prunus L. sensu lato (s.l.) is controversial due to the high levels of convergent or the parallel evolution of morphological characters. In the present study, phylogenetic analyses of fifteen main segregates of Prunus s.l. represented by eighty-four species were conducted with maximum parsimony and Bayesian approaches using twelve chloroplast regions (atpB-rbcL, matK, ndhF, psbA-trnH, rbcL, rpL16, rpoC1, rps16, trnS-G, trnL, trnL-F and ycf1) and three nuclear genes (ITS, s6pdh and SbeI) to explore their infrageneric relationships. The results of these analyses were used to develop a new, phylogeny-based classification of Prunus s.l. Our phylogenetic reconstructions resolved three main clades of Prunus s.l. with strong supports. We adopted a broad-sensed genus, Prunus, and recognised three subgenera corresponding to the three main clades: subgenus Padus, subgenus Cerasus and subgenus Prunus. Seven sections of subgenus Prunus were recognised. The dwarf cherries, which were previously assigned to subgenus Cerasus, were included in this subgenus Prunus. One new section name, Prunus L. subgenus Prunus section Persicae (T. T. Yü & L. T. Lu) S. L. Zhou and one new species name, Prunus tianshanica (Pojarkov) S. Shi, were proposed.
Keywords: Amygdaloideae; Prunoideae; Prunus; phylogeny; taxonomy.
© 2013 Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences.