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Open Access A Comparative Study of the Inflorescence in the Genus Carex (Cyperaceae)

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The inflorescences of 110 species of Carex were studied in the context of the latest phylogenetic framework of the tribe Cariceae, including broad taxonomic coverage by sections. Their structure is analyzed to infer their taxonomic value and to place these structures within a phylogenetic framework based on recent work in the genus. The inflorescence-unit is a paracladium. It consists of a branch composed of a prophyll, peduncle, bract, and pseudospike with one or more spikelets. The particular features and general trends of the inflorescences are analyzed, summarized, and interpreted according to hypotheses of the evolution of the genus. Such evolutionary patterns as ramification, homogenization, reduction, and sexual specialization combine in different ways during the evolution of the Carex inflorescence. Taking into account the inflorescence structure, we discuss the inclusion of the unispicate species of Carex in the Caricoid Clade and the differences among Caricoid, Vignea, and Core Carex clades.

Keywords: Caricoid Clade; evolutionary process; inflorescence typology; paracladium; prophyll; pseudospike

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-04-01

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