Mirabilis himalaic is endemic to the Himalayas, where its roots are important in Tibetan folk medicine for the treatment of nephritis edematous, renal calculus, arthrodynia, and uterine. It is the only Old World representative of the large New World genus Mirabilis.
Researchers from XIshuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and Tibet Agriculture and Animal Husbandry University conducted a study to determine the taxonomic status of M. himalaica and its systematic position in relation to the New World taxa. They also aimed to estimate the divergence time and hypothesize possible causes for its disjunct distribution.
By using two loci (nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer, rps16), the researchers evaluated the systematic position of M. himalaica and historical biogeography of Mirabilis and related genera. They also estimated divergence times by using internal transcribed spacer sequences.
They considered that M. himalaica is best placed into an inclusive Mirabilis with no defined sections, rather than into Oxybaphus as a segregate genus.
They also found that the species appears to have diverged from its North American counterparts in the late Miocene to early Pleistocene, spreading to Asia either by the Bering land bridge and/or through long‐distance dispersal.
The study entitled “Taxonomic status and distribution of Mirabilis himalaica (Nyctaginaceae)” has been published in Journal of Systematics & Evolution.
LI Jie Ph.D Principal Investigator
Center for Integrative Conservation, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China E-mail: email@example.com