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The phenotypic features used for distinguishing species within the Cladonia furcata complex are highly homoplasious

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2015

Raquel Pino-Bodas
Botany Unit, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. Email:
Ana R. Burgaz
Departamento Biología Vegetal 1, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, E-28040 Madrid, Spain
María P. Martín
Departamento de Micología, Real Jardín Botánico, RJB-CSIC, E-28014 Madrid, Spain
Teuvo Ahti
Botany Unit, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. Email:
Soili Stenroos
Botany Unit, Finnish Museum of Natural History, P.O. Box 7, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. Email:
Mats Wedin
Department of Botany, Swedish Museum of Natural History, SE-10405 Stockholm, Sweden
H. Thorsten Lumbsch
Science & Education, The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605, USA


The Cladonia furcata complex treated here comprises C. farinacea, C. furcata, C. multiformis, C. scabriuscula, C. stereoclada, and C. subrangiformis. The well-known taxonomic complexity of this group is caused by wide phenotypic variation and high morphological similarity among the species, for which reason we investigated the distribution in the phylogeny of the phenotypic characters traditionally used to distinguish the species in this complex. A phylogenetic analysis of the C. furcata complex is presented here, based on three loci (ITS rDNA, IGS rDNA and RPB2), representing specimens from a broad geographical range (Europe, North America and New Zealand). The phylogenetic reconstructions were performed using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses. In addition, 14 features traditionally used for species delimitation within this complex were mapped onto the Bayesian phylogeny. All the species currently accepted, with the exception of C. stereoclada, turned out to be polyphyletic. Most of the phenotypic characters studied are highly homoplasious with the exception of the podetium type. The solid podetia represent a diagnostic character of C. stereoclada.

© British Lichen Society, 2015 

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