An explosive innovation: Phylogenetic relationships of Solanum section Gonatotrichum (Solanaceae)
Solanum is one of the largest plant genera and exhibits a wide range of morphological diversity. Solanum section Gonatotrichum, the focus of this study, is unique within the genus because of its fruits that swell with turgor pressure and explosively dehisce to disperse the seeds. We infer phylogenetic relationships within section Gonatotrichum using DNA sequence data from two nuclear regions (ITS and the granule-bound starch synthase gene [GBSSI or waxy]) and the chloroplast region trnT-F. The resulting phylogenetic trees support the monophyly of the section with the inclusion of Solanum lignescens, a species not previously thought to belong to the group due to the presence of stellate hairs. This inclusion of this species in section Gonatotrichum suggests that the simple, often geniculate hairs of species in the group may represent reduced stellate hairs. The presence of heterantherous flowers appears to be derived in the section, but this character is largely lost in Solanum parcistrigosum.