Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

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Specimen Records:14
Specimens with Sequences:8
Specimens with Barcodes:8
Species With Barcodes:3
Public Records:6
Public Species:3
Public BINs:0
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Brodiaea is a monocot genus of flowering plants in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Brodiaeoideae,[3] also known by the common name cluster-lilies.[4] Brodiaea species occur in the West Coast of the United States, especially northern California.


Taxonomic history

Specimens of Brodiaea were first collected by Archibald Menzies, botanist to the Vancouver Expedition, in 1792. Menzies collected the plant from the vicinity of the Strait of Georgia, named New Georgia by George Vancouver.

The first published reference to the plant appears in James Edward Smith's 1807 An introduction to physiological and systematical botany, where Smith used it to argue that the tepals of liliaceous plants are sepals rather than petals:

"I cannot conceal a recent discovery which strongly confirms the opinion of my acute and candid friend. Two species of a new genus, found by Mr. Menzies on the West coast of North America, have beautiful liliaceous flowers like an Agapanthus, with six internal petals besides!"[5]

The following year, Richard Salisbury published the first Brodiaea species in his Paradisus Londinensis, but placed it in the genus Hookera as Hookera coronaria. Smith disagreed with this placement, and in April 1808 read a formal description of a new genus before the Linnean Society of London, naming the genus in honour of Scottish botanist James Brodie (1744–1824).[6] Formal publication did not occur, however, until Smith's presentation went to print in 1811.


Brodiaea belongs to a group of 12 genera whose affinities were the subject of much controversy until the end of the 20th century. Salisbury treated them as a family which he named Themidaceae. Others placed this group at lower taxonomic rank and usually included them in Liliaceae, Alliaceae, or Amaryllidaceae. Molecular phylogenetic studies confirmed the suspicions of many that this group was misplaced, and consequently, the family Themidaceae was resurrected in 1996.[7] When the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group published the APG II system in 2003, Themidaceae was accepted as an optional family for those who wanted to circumscribe families narrowly in the order Asparagales. When the APG III system was published in 2009, the former Themidaceae was treated as a subfamily, Brodiaeoideae, of the family Asparagaceae sensu lato.[8]

Some sources, such as ITIS, continue to use the polyphyletic groups of obsolete taxonomic systems.[9] Other sources, such as the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website mostly follow the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group.[10]

Brodiaea (or Brodeia [11]) is also used as a common name to refer to three genera, Brodiaea, Dichelostemma, and Triteleia. The latter two genera were once included as part of the genus Brodiaea.[12] The monophyly of Brodiaea as presently defined is not entirely certain. It might be intermixed with Dichelostemma.[13]


The following list of Brodiaea species is from Flora of North America.[4]

Sources: GRIN,[12] NRCS[14]


  1. ^ "Brodiaea". Index Nominum Genericorum. International Association for Plant Taxonomy. 1996-02-09. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  2. ^ UniProt. "Genus Brodiaea" (HTML). Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  3. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards), Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Brodiaeoideae, 
  4. ^ a b Pires, J. Chris. "63. Brodiaea Smith". Flora of North America (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press) 26: Page 20, 53, 55, 321, 326, 328, 331, 332, 336, 3. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  5. ^ Smith, James Edward (1807). An introduction to physiological and systematical botany. p. 261. 
  6. ^ Smith, James Edward (1811). "Characters of a new Liliaceous Genus called Brodiæa". Transactions of the Linnean Society of London X: 1–5. 
  7. ^ Michael F. Fay and Mark W. Chase. 1996. "Resurrection of Themidaceae for the Brodiaea alliance, and recircumscription of Alliaceae, Amaryllidaceae, and Agapanthoideae". Taxon 45(3):441-451.
  8. ^ Mark W. Chase, James L. Reveal, and Michael F. Fay. "A subfamilial classification for the expanded asparagalean families Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceae and Xanthorrhoeaceae". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 161(2):132–136.
  9. ^ "Brodiaea coronaria (Salisb.) Engl.". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 27 June 2008. 
  10. ^ Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. "Asparagales Bromhead". EXTANT SEED PLANTS at the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website. Missouri Botanical Garden. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  11. ^ Encyclopedia of Herbs
  12. ^ a b Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN) (2007-10-05). "Species Records of Brodiaea". Taxonomy for Plants. USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program, National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  13. ^ J. Chris Pires, Michael F. Fay, Warren S. Davis, Larry Hufford, Johan Rova, Mark W. Chase, and Kenneth J. Sytsma. 2001. "Molecular and morphological phylogenetic analyses of Themidaceae (Asparagales)". Kew Bulletin 56(3):601-626.
  14. ^ "Brodiaea". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
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