Phylogeny and evolution of the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae)


With approximately 1500 species, the genus Peperomia is one of the largest genera of the Basal Angiosperms. As a result of this huge number of taxa and because of the numerous synonyms, the actual taxonomic knowledge of the genus is quite chaotic. Because of its wide range of morphological forms, it can give us a basis for hypotheses on evolutionary processes as well. The apparent uniformity of the minute flowers in the genus presents a challenge to developing an infrageneric classification. The currently accepted infrageneric classification includes some 400 species and is primarily based on the shape of the drupes (Dahlstedt 1900). Other possibly important characters useful for an infrageneric classification have never been thoroughly studied. Most species described after 1900 have been described without reference to subgeneric affiliation. To develop further our understanding of patterns of diversification within Peperomia, the distribution of morphological changes and/or combinations of character states needs to be examined within a phylogenetic context.

The first modest attempts to make order out of chaos are to gain insight into the infrageneric relationships, to resolve some small well defined groups within the genus and to produce an interactive key to the species. The ultimate target is to make a worldwide monograph of the genus Peperomia. The molecular work is carried out in cooperation with Stefan Wanke (Institut für Botanik, Technische Universität Dresden). The following scientific tools are available online: the Taxonomic Repertorium of the Genus Peperomia (TRGP), the Peperomia Bibliography Online (PBO) and a digital photo library ( The presence of the Peperomia Reference Collection in the Botanical Garden of Ghent University is invaluable. This collection now includes some 1000 specimens of approximately 350 species of the different subgenera and is the largest and most representative ex-situ living collection of Peperomia­-species in the world.


Peperomia, giant genus, character evolution, rapid radiation


Molecular Evolution {Research discipline}
Plant Systematics, Taxonomy and Phylogeny {Research discipline}
Conservation and Biodiversity {Research discipline}
Biogeography {Research discipline}
Genetic {Integration level}
Species {Integration level}
International (non-EU) {Cooperation status}
Origins, Maintenance and Change of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Systematics, Inventorying and Classification {Research orientation}
Monitoring of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Conservation, Restoration and Sustainable use of Biodiversity {Research orientation}
Africa {Geographical scope}
Australia {Geographical scope}
Mexico {Geographical scope}
Central America {Geographical scope}
Northern South America {Geographical scope}
Brazil {Geographical scope}
Dry and Sub-humid Lands {Habitat type}
Forest {Habitat type}
Island {Habitat type}
Mountain {Habitat type}
Access to Genetic Resources {Research purpose}
Access to and Transfer of Technology {Research purpose}
Exchange of Information {Research purpose}
Technical and Scientific Cooperation {Research purpose}
Identification and Monitoring {Research purpose}
In-situ Conservation {Research purpose}
Ex-situ Conservation {Research purpose}
Research and Training {Research purpose}
Magnoliophyta {Taxonomical scope}


Name Role Start End
Asselman, Pieter technician 2003-10-01 2010-12-01
Mathieu, Guido member 2003-10-01 2010-12-01
Samain, Marie-Stéphanie member 2003-10-01 2009-09-01
Vanderschaeve, Liesbeth member 2003-10-01 2007-09-01
Goetghebeur, Paul promotor 2003-10-01 2010-12-01


Name Role Start End
Research Group Spermatophytes member


Name Role Start End
Peperomia partner
Revealing the position of the genus Verhuellia (Piperaceae) partner
TRGP (Taxonomic Repertory of the Genus Peperomia) partner


Reference Role
Wanke, S., Jaramillo, M.A., Borsch, T, Samain, M.S., Quandt, D. & Neinhuis, C. (2007) Evolution of the Piperales - matK and trnK intron sequence data reveal lineage specific resolution contrast. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 42: 477-497. author
Wanke, S., Samain, M.S., Vanderschaeve, L., Mathieu, G., Goetghebeur, P. & Neinhuis, C. (2006) Phylogeny of the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae) inferred from the trnK/matK region (cpDNA). Plant Biology 8: 93-102. author
Mathieu, G. (2006) More new Peperomia species (Piperaceae) from Madagascar. Syst. Geogr. Pl.: 221-228. author
Horner, H., Wanke, S. & Samain, M.S. (2007) Phylogeny versus leaf crystal macropatterns: Testing systematic value of the latter in the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae) Plant Biology and Botany 2007 Joint Congress – Chicago (abstract) author
Samain, M.S., Vanderschaeve, L., Neinhuis, C., Goetghebeur, P. & Wanke, S. (2007) Reconstructing phylogenetic trees in plants? Piperales! Ph.D. symposium Faculty of Sciences Ghent University (abstract) author
Samain, M.S., Vanderschaeve, L., Neinhuis, C., Goetghebeur, P. & Wanke, S. (2006) Is morphology telling the truth about the evolution of the giant genus Peperomia (Piperaceae)? 17th International symposium Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology – Bonn (abstract) author
Samain, M.S., Wanke, S. & Goetghebeur, P. (2006) From a poorly known clade to a model group - The giant genus Peperomia (Piperaceae). 11th Nordic Meeting on Neotropical Botany – Aarhus (abstract) author
Vanderschaeve, L., Samain, M.S. & Mathieu, G. (2005) Studies in Peperomia (Piperaceae): the challenging morphological research. 17th International Botanical Congress – Vienna (abstract) author
Samain, M.S., Vanderschaeve, L., Mathieu, G. & Wanke, S. (2005) Studies in Peperomia (Piperaceae): insights from molecular and morphological approaches. 17th International Botanical Congress – Vienna (abstract) author
Mathieu, G. (2003) Proposal to conserve the name Peperomia nitida Dahlst. against P. nitida Sessé & Moc. (Piperaceae) Taxon 52: 867-868. author
Mathieu, G. (2003) Peperomia nicolliae, a new endemic species (Piperaceae) from Madagascar. Syst. Geogr. Pl. 73: 288-290. author
Mathieu, G. (2003) New endemic Peperomia species (Piperaceae) from Madagascar. Syst. Geogr. Pl. 73: 71-81. author
Samain, M.S., Vanderschaeve, L., Mathieu, G., Goetghebeur, P. Wanke, S. & Neinhuis, C. (2005) Phylogeny of the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae): insights from morphological and molecular approaches. Ph.D. symposium Faculty of Sciences Ghent University (abstract) author
Mathieu, G. & Callejas, R. (2006) New synonymies in the genus Peperomia (Piperaceae) - An annotated checklist. Candollea 61: 331-363. author

created:2011-12-14 14:18:59 UTC, source:web

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