(Is Omani Flora related to other countries in the world?)
Oman is located in the Southeast of the Arabian Peninsula; it is the meeting point between two continents: Africa and Asia. Due to its location, it plays an important role in the dispersal of plant species and cultural knowledge exchange. Our study addressed the question of how closely related is the Omani overall and medicinal floras compared to other countries in the world and for which medicinal applications. We reconstructed a genus-level molecular phylogenetic tree representing the 361 genera found in the Omani flora and combined it to a phylogeny including 1832 genera from three disparate biodiversity floras: Nepal, New Zealand, the Cape of South Africa to reconstruct large phylogenetic tree. Tools were borrowed from community ecology phylogenetics to quantify significant phylogenetic signal, identify the location of phylogenetic clustering of medicinal genera and investigate congruence of four medicinal floras as well as the overall ones. Our results reveal significant clustering of the 76 medicinally used genera within the Omani phylogenetic tree and provided a direct measure of the relatedness of the four medicinal and overall floras. We demonstrated shared phylogenetic patterns across the floras; related plants from these regions are used to treat medical conditions for the same therapeutic applications. Overall comparison of four floras showed that the Omani flora is most similar phylogenetically to the Nepalese flora and most different to the New Zealand. We conclude that transmission of knowledge may explain the relatedness patterns we obtained.