Tatjana E. KRAMINA & Dmitry D. SOKOLOFF
The genus comprises about 140 species and has major centres of diversity in the Mediterranean Region and in Macaronesia. The Lotus australis complex, however, is confined to Australia and some islands of Pacific Ocean. The present morphological study recognises four species of the complex, namely L. australis Andrews s.str. (Australia, Tasmania), L. pacificus Kramina & D.D. Sokoloff, sp. nov. (Ryukyu Is., Japan; Lanyu Is., Taiwan), L. anfractuosus (Bak.f.) Kramina & D.D. Sokoloff, comb. et stat. nov. (Loyalty Is. And Île des Pins, New Caledonia; Aniwa Is., Vanuatu), and L. cruentus Court (Australia). Two new varieties are described: Lotus anfractuosus var. vanuatensis Kramina & D.D. Sokoloff, var. nov. and Lotus australis var. austroglaber Kramina & D.D. Sokoloff, var. nov. Disjunctive distribution of the L. australis complex could be explained by long distance dispersal rather than by vicariance. L. australis and L. cruentus, if compared to Mediterranean and Macaronesian species, possess many presumably plesiomorphic character states. However, we do not consider this fact as an indication of Australian origin of the genus Lotus.