• Premise of the Study: Little research has been done at the molecular level on the tribe Fumarieae (Papaveraceae). Papaveraceae is a model plant group for studying evolutionary patterns despite the lack of a reference phylogeny for this tribe. We investigated the phylogenetic relationships within the tribe to complete the molecular data for this family in order to help understand its character evolution and biogeographic pattern.
• Methods: We used maximum-parsimony and Bayesian approaches to analyze five DNA regions for 25 species representing 10 of the 11 Fumarieae genera and five outgroups. Evolutionary pathways of four characters (habit, life span, type of fruit, and number of seeds per fruit) were inferred on the phylogeny using parsimony. The ancestral distribution areas were reconstructed using dispersal–vicariance analysis.
• Key Results: Fumarieae is monophyletic and includes three groups that agree with the morphology-based subtribes: Discocapninae, Fumariinae, and Sarcocapninae. Within subtribes, the relationships among genera were different from those obtained with morphological data. Annual life span, nonchasmophytic habit, and a several-seeded capsule were the basal character states for the tribe. The ancestor occupied a continuous area between West Eurasia and Africa. Vicariances explain the divergence between lineages Discocapninae (South Africa) and Fumariinae–Sarcocapninae (Mediterranean), and the disjunction of Fumariinae (Mediterranean–Central Asia).
• Conclusions: Molecular phylogeny confirms the subtribal classification of Fumarieae based on morphology. However it provides different results regarding the relationships among genera within each subtribe, which affects the inference of the evolutionary pathway followed by the four selected characters. The disjunct distribution of the tribe is explained by different vicariance scenarios.