Aim: This paper described current phylogeographical patterns of chloroplastic DNA variation of Trochodendron aralioides, a temperate tree species, and inferred its possible refugium in Taiwan. This information was compared with the known phylogeographical pattern of subtropical tree species. Location: A total of 24 populations were sampled including 20 from Taiwan, two each from the Ryukyus and Japan. Methods: A haplotype network was constructed by computer program TCS, various parameters of genetic diversity were calculated and neutrality was tested by computer program DnaSP. To examine the similarity of genetic structure among populations, a maximum parsimony tree was reconstructed by computer program PAUP*. The results of isozyme of T. aralioides from a previous publication were incorporated into this study to infer the phylogeographical history. Results: Nine haplotypes according to six substitutions, two indels and one inversion of the two cpDNA intergenic spacer fragments (petG-trnP and petA-psbJ) of T. aralioides were recognized. Genetic structure of the population of Japan is totally different from those of Taiwan and the Ryukyus. In Taiwan, the genetic structure was differentiated among populations revealed by G st = 0.700 and A st = 0.542, and the population genetics was clearly spatially structured. Two population groups were recognized. The first group was distributed islandwide and extended to the Ryukyus. The second group contained five of the seven known haplotypes, and was restricted to the area between latitude 24°46' and 24°06' N. Conclusions: In Taiwan, north-central area between latitude 24°46' and 24°06' N is potentially a refugium during the last glaciations. This finding is contradicted to subtropical species as Cyclobalanopsis glauca.
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