Morphological and RAPD markers were used to assess the relationships among nodulating and non-nodulating species of African Acacia. Non-nodulating species of African Acacia are only found within subg.Aculeiferum sect.Monacanthea. African species of sect.Monacanthea examined were found to form a group distinct from the other African species examined on a morphological and molecular basis. All lack the ability to nodulate, suggesting that non-nodulation may be used as a taxonomic tool. The species of sect. Aculeiferum were separated by RAPD and morphological analysis into two groups depending on whether they were armed with prickles in pairs and/or prickles in threes, or solitary. A third group of species was identified within sect.Acacia: further subdivision of this group was achieved into subsectt.Pluriseriae and Uniseriae. The position of A. albida relative to other AfricanAcacia species was found to be distinct but not totally independent of the genus. The partitioning and distribution of the genetic variability within the genus is further elucidated by the RAPD analysis of populations of Acacia species. A population analysis of A. polyacantha demonstrated geographical and site-specific variation.
Plant Systematics and Evolution (1997) 205 (1/2) 27-51