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The ubiquitous and highly diverse element Australian Acacia makes an ideal candidate for investigating a range of questions about the evolution of the flora of continental Australia.
In the past, such efforts have been hampered by a lack of well-supported phylogenies and by the relatively poor macrofossil record, which probably reflects the depositional environment in which Acacia species are predominantly found.
However, the broader subfamily Mimosoideae offers several reliably age-constrained fossils that can be used as calibrations in divergence-dating analyses of DNA sequence data.
In addition, the microfossil pollen record of Acacia is relatively rich and provides a good age constraint for the entire Acacia clade.
Australian Systematic Botany 19, 315–326.| Brown GK, Murphy DJ, Ladiges PY (2011) Relationships of the Australo-Malesian genus Paraserianthes (Mimosoideae: Leguminosae) identifies the sister group of Acacia sensu stricto and two biogeographical tracks. Australian Journal of Botany 51, 167–177.| Miller JT, Grimes JW, Murphy DJ, Bayer RJ, Ladiges PY (2003b) A phylogenetic analysis of the Acacieae and Ingeae (Mimosoideae: Fabaceae) based on trn K, mat K, psb A-trn H, and trn L/trn F sequence data. Murphy DJ, Miller JT, Bayer RJ, Ladiges PY (2003) Molecular phylogeny of Acacia subgenus Phyllodineae (Mimosoideae: Leguminosae) based on DNA sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region.
clade and for related lineages across the Mimosoideae subfamily. (Royal Botanic Gardens: Kew) Miller JT, Bayer RJ (2003) Molecular phylogenetics of Acacia subgenera Acacia and Aculeiferum (Fabaceae: Mimosoideae), based on the chloroplast mat K coding sequence and flanking trn K intron spacer regions.
We estimate average crown divergence dates for Vachellia at 13–17 Ma, Senegalia at 31.0–33.4 Ma and Acacia s.s. The timing of radiations within these lineages is consistent with the hypothesis that Miocene aridification in Africa, the Americas and Australia was a driver for the diversificationss of lineages in Acacia s.l. Australian Systematic Botany 16, 27–33.| Miller JT, Burd M (2013) Australia’s Acacia: unrecognized convergent evolution.