Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Biology (M.S.)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Timothy Evans

Second Advisor

Amy Russell

Third Advisor

Jennifer Winther

Academic Year



Palisota (Commelinaceae) differs from other Commelinaceae genera in androecial and pollen characters, a fleshy berry-type fruit, and anatomical characters. Palisota has been divided into two sections based on uniseriate vs. biseriate seed arrangement. Molecular phylogenetic analyses in Commelinaceae have placed Palisota near the base within the family, although its precise position is unclear. We sequenced chloroplast (matK, rbcL, rps16, and trnL-trnF, psbI-psbK, atpB-rbcL, atpF-atpH and psbA-trnH intergenic spacers) and nuclear (AT103) regions in 15 of approximately 26 species of Palisota and 15 outgroup species. Phylogenetic analyses were performed using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods, with the goal of resolving the placement of Palisota within Commelinaceae and relationships among species. This study represents the first phylogenetic analysis within the genus and the first study to resolve the placement of Palisota within the family with strong support. The resulting phylogeny supports a monophyletic Palisota as sister to the tribe Commelineae. Sectional divisions within Palisota were largely upheld with the exception of Palisota hirsuta, a species with biseriate seeds nested within the uniseriate clade.

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