KYLLINGA: Revision of Cyperus section Kyllinga

January 2005 to present, PhD study

The genus Cyperus s.l. is one of the largest genera in the Cyperaceae including ca. 950 species. The most obvious, but not always constant, diagnostic character is the presence of spikelets with distichous glumes. As is the case for many giant genera, the taxonomic relationships in Cyperus s.l. are for a large part unclear. However, within Cyperus s.l. several groups can be distinguished morphologically. Many of these groups were placed in separate (sub)genera and sections. According to phylogenetic analyses, these groups are nevertheless nested in Cyperus s.s.

The genus Cyperus falls apart in two main groups/subgenera, namely C3 Cyperus and C4 Cyperus. Each group is characterised by its own photosynthesis type, which is linked to the vegetative anatomy. C4 Cyperus is by far the largest and most diverse. To the strongly evolved branches of C4 Cyperus belongs, amongst others, the segregate genus Kyllinga (ca. 75 species).

This segregate genus is characterised by its remarkable, laterally compressed pistils, composed of only two ‘carpels’. The origin of this requested complete new gynoecial architecture, with new vascular patterns. Also two other genera, Pycreus and Queenslandiella, both related to Cyperus, have a comparable architecture and placement of the gynoecium, of which the anatomical structure is still unclear. In this study, a phylogenetic reconstruction of the genus Kyllinga using nuclear ribosomal and chloroplast sequences will be created using Maximum Likelihood Bayesian Inference and AFLP analyses. Also, a world revision of the genus will be presented including descriptions, pictures, DNA sequences, literature, maps and identification keys.
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Relevant publications:
Larridon I, Bauters K, Huygh W, Reynders M, Goetghebeur P. (2014) Taxonomic changes in C4 Cyperus (Cypereae, Cyperoideae, Cyperaceae): combining the sedge genera Ascolepis, Kyllinga and Pycreus into Cyperus s.l. Phytotaxa.
Huygh W, Schouppe D, Larridon I, Simpson DA, Goetghebeur P. (2010) Kyllinga cataphyllata (Cyperaceae), a new species from the highlands of West and Central Africa. Blumea 55 (3): 291-293.
Huygh W, Larridon I, Reynders M, Muasya AM, Govaerts R, Simpson DA, Goetghebeur P. (2010) Nomenclature and typification of names of genera and subdivisions of genera in Cypereae (Cyperaceae): 1. Names of genera in the Cyperus clade. Taxon 59 (6): 1883-1890.
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Drs. Wim Huygh

Prof. Dr. Paul Goetghebeur

Prof. Dr. Isabel Larridon
Prof. Dr. A. Muthama Muasya - University of Cape Town, South Africa
Prof. Dr. David A. Simpson - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK
Dr. Alexander Vrijdaghs - KULEUVEN, Belgium

King Léopold III Foundation for the Exploration and Protection of Nature (international mobility - Kenya)

Ghent University
Department of Biology
Research Group Spermatophytes
Ghent University Botanical Garden