Published on 12 Sep 2022

Evolution patterns of the world’s largest tree genus Syzygium identified

Photo Credit: Yee Wen LOW

Native and widespread in tropical and subtropical rain forests, studying the origins and drivers of this hyperdiverse woody tree genus contributes to understanding of how plant species have emerged in the past in response to environmental changes.

This knowledge, in turn, is valuable for predicting how plants might respond to environmental changes brought forth by climate change and thus guide conservation and management efforts for plant communities.

This study, published online in the journal Nature Communications on 12 September 2022, was led by the Singapore Botanic Gardens of Singapore’s National Parks Board (NParks) in collaboration with 26 local and international research institutions including NTU Singapore, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in the United Kingdom, the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom and the University at Buffalo in the United States of America.

Syzygium, also known as the clove genus, is a hyperdiverse tree genus with about 1,200 named species and many more new species yet to be formally described by botanists. Among forest trees, Syzygium is one of the most important species-rich genera, and its diversity is highest in the Southeast Asian forests. For example, Syzygium is the most diverse tree genus in Singapore, with 54 species recorded from a variety of habitats and found mainly in nature reserves.

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