• Acacia;
  • cpDNA;
  • evolution;
  • nested clade analysis;
  • phylogeny;
  • phylogeography

Abstract The Acacia acuminata complex includes three taxa, A. acuminata ssp. acuminata, A. acuminata ssp. burkittii and A. oldfieldii, along with several informal variants of A. acuminata. It is widespread throughout southern Australia with the centre of diversity in south-west Western Australia. Phylogeographical patterns in the complex were investigated using a nested clade analysis of cpDNA RFLPs from 25 populations in Western Australia. Except for A. oldfieldii that was clearly identified as a distinct entity, haplotypes were not restricted to sub-specific taxa or variants within A. acuminata. There was significant association between phylogenetic position of many haplotypes and their geographical distribution. The fine-scale phylogeographical patterns were complex but at deeper levels in the phylogeny there was evidence of divergence between two lineages. The pattern of shared haplotypes between lineages suggests retention of ancestral polymorphism as a result of incomplete lineage sorting. The divergence of these lineages is consistent with fragmentation caused by climatic instability during the Pleistocene.