Hemlock, Tsuga (Pinaceae), has a disjunct distribution in North America and Asia. To examine the biogeographic history of Tsuga, phylogenetic relationships among multiple accessions of all nine species were inferred using chloroplast DNA sequences and multiple cloned sequences of the nuclear ribosomal ITS region. Analysis of chloroplast and ITS sequences resolve a clade that includes the two western North American species, T. heterophylla and T. mertensiana, and a clade of Asian species within which one of the eastern North American species, T. caroliniana, is nested. The other eastern North American species, T. canadensis, is sister to the Asian clade. Tsuga chinensis from Taiwan did not group with T. chinensis from mainland China, and T. sieboldii from Ullung Island did not group with T. sieboldii from Japan suggesting that the taxonomic status of these distinct populations should be reevaluated. The Himalayan species, T. dumosa, was in conflicting positions in the chloroplast and ITS trees, suggesting that it may be of hybrid origin. Likelihood-based biogeographic inference with divergence time estimates infers an Eocene basal crown group diversification and an initial widespread circumpolar distribution with subsequent vicariance and extinction events leading to the current disjunct distribution.
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