Oral presentation Larridon et al. - AETFAT 2014

First slide

Recent systematic research of Cyperus s.l. (950 spp.) resulted in new insights towards a new classification reflecting natural relationships. Based on molecular phylogenetic data, Cyperus s.l. is monophyletic (= the Cyperus clade), but Cyperus s.s. is paraphyletic with part of its species placed in segregate genera. Cyperus s.l. species using C3 photosynthesis form a paraphyletic grade (= C3 Cyperus). All C4 Cyperus s.l. species form a monophyletic clade (= C4 Cyperus) nested in C3 Cyperus. While relationships in C3 Cyperus are clear, some relationships in C4 Cyperus are not well-resolved due to species radiation coinciding with evolution of C4 photosynthesis. Reconstructing relationships in the Cyperus clade is complicated by convergent evolution. Characters used for generic delimitation originated multiple times independently (e.g. spiral glumes, single-flowered spikelets and laterally flattened nutlets). Based on current knowledge, the segregate genera had to be sunken into a broadened, monophyletic genus Cyperus. In Cyperus, two subgenera are recognised corresponding to C3 Cyperus and C4 Cyperus. Within these subgenera sections are placed, some of which correspond to previous segregate genera. Taxonomic changes were necessary to lump the segregates into Cyperus. Boundaries of many existing sections still need to be re-evaluated, in order that they become monophyletic. With the large diversity of Cyperus species found in Africa, African taxonomists are ideally situated to study its lower level systematics and ecology.

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