The phylogeny and a new classification of the gingers (Zingiberaceae): evidence from molecular data.
The pantropical Zingiberaceae is the largest family in the order Zingiberales with 53 genera and over 1200 species. Classifications of the family first proposed in 1889 and refined by others since that time recognize four tribes (Globbeae, Hedychieae, Alpinieae, and Zingibereae) based on morphological features, such as number of locules and placentation in the ovary, development of staminodia, modifications of the fertile anther, and rhizome-shoot-leaf orientation. New phylogenetic analyses based on DNA sequences of the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and plastid matK regions suggest that at least some of these morphological traits are homo-plasious and three of the tribes are paraphyletic. The African genus Siphonochilus and Bornean genus Tamijia are basal clades. The former Alpinieae and Hedychieae for the most part are monophyletic taxa with the Globbeae and Zingibereae included within the latter. The results of these phylogenetic investigations are used to propose a new classification of the Zingiberaceae that recognizes four subfamilies and four tribes: Siphonochiloideae (Siphonochileae), Tamijioideae (Tamijieae), Alpinioideae (Alpinieae, Riedelieae), and Zingiberoideae (Zingibereae, Globbeae). Morphological features congruent with this classification and the taxonomic status of various monotypic genera are discussed.