1974 to 1986, PhD thesis

This hefty volume (1164 pages) is the result of a long-running (1974-1986) morphological and taxonomical study of the family Cyperaceae, including an evaluation of all genera and all generic synonyms.

The inflorescence patterns and the embryo structures in particular received attention. Their sometimes widely different interpretations have led to an elevated number of non-congruent classifications, and a careful eye on the homology of these small and complex floral and embryological patterns was very much needed.
All Cyperaceae are interpreted as possessing spikelets of lateral flowers (from bisexual to unisexual), with a few possible exceptions in the subfamily Mapanioideae were a small number of aberrant taxa seem to exhibit also a terminal flower, hence a closed spikelet.

The family is divided in 17 tribes (mostly characterized by one embryo type), in 4 subfamilies with Mapanioideae as the basalmost clade, and three other subfamilies, Cyperoideae (bisexual flowers), Sclerioideae (unisexual flowers), and Caricoideae (unisexual flowers, the pistillate flower axillated by a prophyll), but whose phylogenetic relations are not yet clear.
Relevant publications:
Goetghebeur P. (1998) Cyperaceae. In: Kubitzki, K. The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants 4. Flowering Plants, Monocotyledons: Alismatanae and Commelinanae (except Gramineae): 141-190.
Goetghebeur P. (1986) Genera Cyperacearum: een bijdrage tot de kennis van de morfologie, systematiek en fylogenese van de Cyperaceae-genera. PhD thesis, Ghent University, Belgium: 1164 p.

Prof. Dr. Paul Goetghebeur

Prof. Em. Paul Van der Veken

Ghent University
Department of Biology
Research Group Spermatophytes