, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 393-411

An investigation for the occurrence of C4 photosynthesis in the Cyperaceae from Australia

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Two hundred and twenty species of 38 genera in the Cyperaceae from Australia were examined for the possible occurrence of the C4 photosynthesis and the anatomical features of leaves and culms. The Kranz type of anatomy and the carbon isotope ratios typical of C4 plants were found in 84 species in the following six genera of four tribes belonging to subfamily Cyperoideae:Bulbostylis, Crosslandia, andFimbristylis (Fimbristylideae);Lipocarpha (Lipocarpheae);Cyperus (Cypereae);Rhynchospora (Rhynchosporeae). The anatomical observation revealed that the C4 species possessed any one of the three Kranz anatomical types found by previous investigators. It was suggested that in the Cyperaceae the C4 syndrome evolved independently within several taxa of the subfamily.

The relative distribution of C3 and C4 species of the Cyperaceae in Australia was investigated by use of floristic data. It was recognized that the C4 species dominated in the northern part of the continent which was characterized by tropical and subtropical savannas and hot dry areas with summer rainfall, and the C3 species in the southern part, which contained temperate areas and mediterranean climatic areas with winter rainfall.