Since the Monocots II meeting in 1998, significant new data have been published that enhance our systematic knowledge of Cyperaceae. Phylogenetic studies in the family have also progressed steadily. For this study, a parsimony analysis was carried out using all rbcL sequences currently available for Cyperaceae, including data for two new genera. One of the four subfamilies (Caricoideae) and seven of the 14 tribes (Bisboeckelereae, Cariceae, Cryptangieae, Dulichieae, Eleocharideae, Sclerieae, Trilepideae) are monophyletic. Subfamily Mapanioideae and tribe Chrysitricheae are monophyletic if, as the evidence suggests, Hellmuthia is considered a member of Cypereae. Some other features of our analysis include: well-supported Trilepideae and Sclerieae–Bisboeckelereae clades; a possible close relationship between Cryptangieae and Schoeneae; polyphyletic tribes Schoeneae and Scirpeae; the occurrence of Cariceae within the Dulichieae–Scirpeae clade, and a strongly supported clade, representing Cyperus and allied genera in Cypereae, sister to a poorly supported Ficinia–Hellmuthia–Isolepis–Scirpoides clade. Such patterns are consistent with other studies based on DNA sequence data. One outcome may be that only two subfamilies, Mapanioideae and Cyperoideae, are recognized. Much further work is needed, with efforts carefully coordinated among researchers. The work should focus on obtaining morphological and molecular data for all genera in the family.

, , , ,
Staff publications

Simpson, D. A., Muthama Muasya, A., Alves, M. V., Bruhl, J. J., Dhooge, S., Chase, M. W., … Zhang, X. (2007). Phylogeny of Cyperaceae based on DNA sequence data - a new rbcL analysis. Aliso, Aliso(23), 72–83.