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kiblogo03Trees from Kunming Institute of Botany

Scientists from Kunming Institute of Botany, China were early pioneers in molecular analysis of the alpine group, Thamnocalamus, Fargesia and Yushania, sometimes along with Gaoligongshania, Ampelocalamus, Drepanostachyum and Himalayacalamus

Their early results are summarised in the following 3 trees:

1. From  Guo et al. (2001). ITS seqencing results. Note: A. actinotrichus =Ampelocalamus actinotrichus; F. fractiflexa = Drepanostachyum fractiflexum, T. spathiflorus = Thamnocalamus spathiflorus; F. setosa and other F. species outside the F. spathacea clade = Borinda




























2. Strict consensus tree of the 92 most parsimonious trees resulting from a heuristic search with PAUP 4.0, with gaps treated asa fifth base. Numbers below branches are bootstrap values. (CI 5 0.646, RI 5 0.716).

From Guo et al. (2002). ITS sequencing results. Note: Dr. hookerianum = Himalayacalamus hookerianus; F. fractiflexa = Drepanostachyum fraxiflexum, C. pallens = Chimonocalamus pallens.


guo & li 2004 fig 402

 3. From Guo & Li (2004). Results of combined GBSSI and ITS sequence analysis.

Further work undertaken in Kunming over the years has shown how difficult it is to resolve consistent groups on a phylogenetic basis in the northern temperate clade of bamboos. Conflicts between trees produced by analysis of chloroplast and nuclear genes have made interpretation even harder (Zhang et al 2012).

Nevertheless, a much larger number of bamboos have since been analysed, and about a dozen reasonably well supported groups have been somewhat subjectively and tentatively selected from a larger number that could be considered eligible for taking seriously as putative nomenclatural groups on the basis of molecular analysis (Zeng et al 2010).

Introduction of a more powerful technique, genome-wide RAD sequencing, started for bamboos in 2017 (Wang et al 2017), and better results are hoped for. Meanwhile, the philosophy concerning recognition of genera may have moved on from a rather dogmatic belief in the overriding importance of phylogeny anyway, taking into account the long generation times and abundant hybridisation seen in bamboos. It might even be the case that morphology is coming back into vogue after 2 decades in the wilderness.




Guo et al. (2001). Guo, Z.-H., Chen, Y.-Y., Li, D.-Z., and Yang, J.-B. 2001. Genetic variation and evolution of the alpine bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) using DNA sequence data. Journal of Plant Research 114: 315-322.

Guo et al. (2002). Guo, Z.-H., Chen, Y.-Y., and Li, D.-Z. 2002. Phylogenetic studies on the Thamnocalamus group and its allies (Gramineae: Bambusoideae) based on ITS sequence data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 22: 20-30.

Guo & Li (2004). Guo, Z.-H., and Li, D.-Z. 2004. Phylogenetics of the Thamnocalamus group and its allies (Gramineae: Bambusoideae): inference from the sequences of GBSSI gene and ITS spacer. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30: 1-12.

Wang, X., Ye, X., Zhao, L., Li, D., Guo, Z., & Zhuang, H. (2017). Genome-wide RAD sequencing data provide unprecedented resolution of the phylogeny of temperate bamboos (Poaceae: Bambusoideae). Scientific Reports 7(1): 11546. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11367-x

Zeng, C.X., Zhang Y.X., Triplett, J.K., Yang, J.B., & Li, D.Z. (2010). Large multi-locus plastid phylogeny of the tribe Arundinarieae (Poaceae: Bambusoideae) reveals ten major lineages and low rate of molecular divergence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 56: 821–839. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2010.03.041

Zhang, Y.J., Zeng, C.Z. & Li, D.Z. (2012). Complex evolution in Arundinarieae (Poaceae: Bambusoideae): Incongruence between plastid and nuclear GBSSI gene phylogenies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 63(3): 777–797.



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