Phylogenetic studies have shown that Schefflera, the largest genus of Araliaceae, is highly polyphyletic, comprising five non-sister clades within the family, and that the generic name must be restricted to a small group of Pacific Island species. In an effort to establish monophyletic genera for the other elements still remaining in Schefflera, phylogenetic analyses of the large Neotropical clade have revealed five morphologically and geographically coherent groups. Here, we reinstate the genus Sciodaphyllum, which corresponds to the largest of these five groups, presenting a synopsis of the 131 currently recognized species, including 109 new combinations, one replacement name (nomen novum), and three new heterotypic synonyms. The re-establishment of Sciodaphyllum opens the way for describing an estimated 200+ new species in the genus, nearly all of which are from the Northern and Central Andes.
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As this paper was being finalized, our co-author, friend and colleague David Frodin passed away. His vast knowledge of Schefflera and his never-ending enthusiasm and willingness to share his insights will be missed by us all. The authors thank the curators of the following herbaria for the loan of specimens or for providing access to their collections: CAUP, COL, CUVC, CUZ, F, FMB, HUA, ICESI, JAUM, K, LOJA, MEDEL, MO, MOL, NY, PSO, QCA, QCNE, VALLE, and USM. We are also grateful to Roy Gereau for advice on several matters of typification, and George Schatz for interesting discussions on delimiting genera in the Neotropical Schefflera clade. This work was supported by grants from the U.S. National Science Foundation (DEB 0943958, 1556327 and 1556139) and the National Geographic Society (CRE 5793-96, 7415-03, 8355-07). PF thanks the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) for a productivity grant (PQ 306228/2016-5).
- Combinatio nova
- nomen novum