Native New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) comprise a Pleistocene species radiation with very low genetic divergence
Phylogenetic relationships are complex within the Lithospermeae, a large subgroup of the Boraginaceae s.str. The relationships of New World Lasiarrhenum, Macromeria, Nomosa, Onosmodium, Perittostoma, and Psilolaemus to subcosmopolitan and much larger Lithospermum have not been critically investigated in the recent past. No molecular data on the phylogeny of these genera and Lithospermum have so far been published. We investigated the relationships within Lithospermeae using three loci (nuclear ITS plus 5.8S rRNA, chloroplast trnL-F-spacer, and trnS-G-spacer) and micromorphological character traits (pollen, nutlets). Lithospermums.l. constitutes the sistergroup of Asian Ulugbekia and is monophyletic only when its American segregates "Macromeria", monotypic Nomosa, and Onosmodium are included. Both the African and the South American species groups of Lithospermum are monophyletic, but North American representatives are not resolved in a single clade. Morphological characters that have been considered as important for generic delimitation in the past (such as large, yellow corollas without faucal scales, particular pollen types, coarsely veined leaves, shrubby habit) have evolved in at least two only distantly related lineages within Lithospermums.l. The reduction of American "Macromeria", Nomosa, and Onosmodium as well as Asian Ulugbekia under Lithospermum is proposed to render the latter monophyletic. This redefined Lithospermum s.l. appears to have undergone a type of recent "island radiation" in the Americas, reflected in a morphological diversity far exceeding that found in the Old World.