Phylogenetics, biogeography and conservation of Macaronesian Lotus
The Macaronesian Lotus group comprises about 40 species distributed in all five Macaronesian archipelagos, mainland Africa and Europe. Most of the species are adapted to attract insects as pollinators, except for five species (sect. Rhyncholotus) adapted to attract opportunistic passerines birds. The four bird-pollinated species evolved relatively recently within the last 2 Mya from their insect-pollinated ancestor and are endemic to three islands, La Palma (L. pyranthus and L. eremiticus), La Gomera (L. gomerythus) and Tenerife (L. maculatus and L. berthelotii). In contrast, L. sessilifolius (their closely related species) is widely distributed in five out of the seven islands in the Canary Island archipelago.