Persoonia (Geebung, Snottygobble)

Aim: Phylogenomics Stage 2
Project initiation: Aug 2021
Project lead: Gareth Holmes | Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

Image by Peter Weston. Reproduced with permission from Gareth Holmes

Project description:

Persoonia (known as Geebungs or Snottygobbles depending on where you are in Australia) is a member of subfamily Persoonioideae from the iconic Proteaceae. There is considerable morphological diversity within this genus of over 100 species. They range from prostrate shrubs in subalpine Tasmania to small trees across tropical northern Australia. The flowers and fruits are an important food source for insects and animals and several species have been utilised as medicinal and food plants by aboriginal people for thousands of years. Many species have restricted distributions and are of conservation concern. Our current understanding of relationships within the genus identifies several unresolved large clades, and that what were thought to be closely related monotypic genera are also nested within Persoonia. We will use bait capture DNA data to determine relationships among these taxa from Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. The results, including pollen data, will be used to help clarify the taxonomy of the genus and to examine biogeographic patterns across Oceania and in species diversity hotspots.