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Data from: Floral evolution and pollinator diversification in Hedychium: revisiting Darwin’s predictions using an integrative taxonomic approach


Ashokan, Ajith et al. (2022), Data from: Floral evolution and pollinator diversification in Hedychium: revisiting Darwin’s predictions using an integrative taxonomic approach, Dryad, Dataset,


Hedychium J.Koenig (Zingiberaceae) is endemic to the Indo-Malayan Realm and is known for its vibrant and fragrant flowers. Historically, two different pollination syndromes characterize Hedychium: diurnal or bird pollination and nocturnal or moth pollination. In this study we aim to understand the evolution of nocturnal and diurnal flowers, and to test its putative association with lineage diversification in Hedychium.

A molecular tree of Hedychium was used as a scaffold upon which we estimated ancestral character-states, phylogenetic signals, and correlations for certain categorical and continuous floral traits. Further, we employed phylomorphospace and trait-dependent diversification rate estimation analyses to understand phenotypic evolution and associated lineage diversification in Hedychium.

Although floral color and size lacked any association with specific pollinators, white or pale flowers were most common in the early branching clades, when compared to bright-colored flowers which were more widely represented in the most derived clade IV. Five categorical and two continuous characters were identified to have informative evolutionary patterns which also emphasized that ecology may have played a critical role in the diversification of Hedychium.

From our phylogenetic analyses and ecological observations, we conclude that specializations in pollinator interactions are rare in the hyperdiverse clade IV, thus challenging the role of both moth-specialization and bird-specialization as central factors in the diversification of Hedychium. However, our results also suggest that clade III (predominantly island clade) may show specializations, and future studies should investigate ecological and pollinator interactions, along with inclusion of new traits such as floral fragrance and anthesis time.


Please refer to the original manuscript

Usage Notes


Science and Engineering Research Board, Award: ECR/2017/001073

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India, Award: 09/1020(0061)/2014-EMR-1

Ministry of Education, Government of India

National Geographic Society

Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India

Heliconia Society International

National Parks Board, Singapore

Sibbald Trust, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Scottish Government’s Rural and Environmental Science and Analytical Services Division

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal