The phylogenetic position of the monotypic genus Wenchengia has long been controversial. It variously has been assigned to a monotypic subfamily Wenchengioideae, treated as a member of subfamily Scutellarioideae, or suggested to be related to Lamioideae or Ajugoideae. The recent rediscovery of Wenchengia alternifolia from its type locality provided an opportunity to infer its phylogenetic position using evidence from two plastid DNA regions (rbcL, ndhF), morphological data, and anatomical and cytological characters. Both the molecular data and a combination of the molecular and the morphological data suggested a close relationship of the genus to a clade consisting of Holmskioldia, Tinnea, and Scutellaria representing Scutellarioideae. This relationship is also supported by a striking similarity in gross morphological, anatomical, and cytological characters between Wenchengia and other genera of Scutellarioideae, suggesting that it should be more appropriate to treat the genus as a member of Scutellarioideae, rather than assigning it to a monotypic subfamily.
1.Chinese Acad Sci, S China Bot Garden, Key Lab Plant Resources Conservat & Sustainable U, Guangzhou 510650, Guangdong, Peoples R China 2.Nanjing Univ, Sch Life Sci, Lab Forest Ecol & Global Change, Nanjing 210093, Jiangsu, Peoples R China 3.Univ Washington, Dept Biol, Seattle, WA 98195 USA 4.Univ Washington, Burke Museum, Seattle, WA 98195 USA 5.Chinese Acad Sci, Kunming Inst Bot, Key Lab Biodivers & Biogeog, Kunming 650204, Yunnan, Peoples R China 6.Florida Int Univ, Dept Biol Sci, Miami, FL 33199 USA 7.Fairchild Trop Bot Garden, Miami, FL 33199 USA 8.Ohio Univ, Dept Environm & Plant Biol, Athens, OH 45701 USA 9.Chinese Acad Sci, Grad Univ, Beijing 100049, Peoples R China