Phylogenetic patterns reflect the interplay of speciation and extinction resulting from complex interactions of organisms with their environment and offer key insight into the processes that have shaped modern biodiversity. However, clarifying patterns of radiation on a global scale and linking those patterns with shifts in distribution, ecology, and morphology are formidable challenges for most large, hyper-diverse lineages of organisms. The advent of powerful new analytic techniques coupled with an ever-increasing ease of accumulating informative sequence data provides the opportunity to construct comprehensive phylogenetic trees that form a conceptual framework for synthesis on a broad scale not previously possible. These advances have also transformed historical biogeography from a field of often speculative narrative to a complex and rigorous discipline that uses sophisticated computational methods to integrate and interpret results from molecular phylogenies, past geological processes, morphological character evolution, lineage diversification hypotheses, and more.
Despite the tremendous recent progress in these disciplines, however, our understanding of how most globally distributed plant lineages have diversified in relation to present landform distribution remains unclear. For example, did they radiate in situ after reaching new areas? Did they radiate in parallel in different areas following regional or worldwide climatic shifts? Due to their worldwide distribution, wide array of growth forms, occurrence in diverse environments, as well as unique chemical and morphological innovations, Lamiaceae (mints) are an excellent model clade to investigate how historical climatic and geologic processes, as well as the evolution of key morphological traits, have shaped present species distribution.