Alliance (taxonomy)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

An alliance is an informal grouping used in biological taxonomy. The term "alliance" is not a taxonomic rank defined in any of the nomenclature codes. It is used for any group of species,[1] genera[2] or tribes to which authors wish to refer, that have at some time provisionally been considered to be closely related.

The term is often used for a group that authors are studying in further detail in order to refine the complex taxonomy. For example, a molecular phylogenetics study of the Aerides–Vanda Alliance (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae) confirmed that the group is monophyletic, and clarified which species belong in each of the 14 genera.[3] In other orchid groups, the various alliances that have been defined do not correspond well to clades.[4]

Historically, some 19th century botanical authors used alliance to denote groups that would now be considered orders.[5] This usage is now obsolete, and the ICN (Article 17.2) specifies that such taxa are treated as orders.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Emshwiller, E. (2002), "Ploidy Levels among Species in the 'Oxalis tuberosa Alliance' as Inferred by Flow Cytometry", Annals of Botany, 89 (6): 741–753, doi:10.1093/aob/mcf135, PMC 4233841, PMID 12102530[dead link]
  2. ^ Zhai, J.-W.; Zhang, G.-Q.; Li, L.; Wang, M.; Chen, L.-J.; Chung, S.-W.; et al. (2014), "A new phylogenetic analysis sheds new light on the relationships in the Calanthe alliance (Orchidaceae) in China", Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 77 (Complete): 216–222, doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.04.005, PMID 24747128
  3. ^ Zhang Guo-Qiang; Liu Ke-Wei; Chen Li-Jun; Xiao Xin-Ju; Zhai Jun-Wen; Li Li-Qiang; Cai Jing; Hsiao Yu-Yun; Rao Wen-Hui; Huang Jie; Ma Xue-Yong; Chung Shih-Wen; Huang Lai-Qiang; Tsai Wen-Chieh; Liu Zhong-Jian (2013). "A New Molecular Phylogeny and a New Genus, Pendulorchis, of the Aerides–Vanda Alliance (Orchidaceae: Epidendroideae)". PLOS ONE. 8 (4): e60097. Bibcode:2013PLoSO...860097Z. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060097. PMC 3618120. PMID 23577083.
  4. ^ Salazar, G.A.; Chase, M.W.; Soto Arenas, M.A.; Ingrouille, M. (2003), "Phylogenetics of Cranichideae with emphasis on Spiranthinae (Orchidaceae, Orchidoideae): evidence from plastid and nuclear DNA sequences", American Journal of Botany, 90 (5): 777–795, doi:10.3732/ajb.90.5.777, PMID 21659175
  5. ^ Willner, Wolfgang (2020-11-16). "What is an alliance?". Vegetation Classification and Survey. 1: 139–144. doi:10.3897/VCS/2020/56372. ISSN 2683-0671.