In order to elucidate the evolution of C4 syndrome, the taxonomic relationships, leaf anatomy, and ecological and global distribution of C3 and C4 species in the genus Rhynchospora were investigated. The anatomical observation for 181 species revealed that 26 C4 species occurred within the Capitatae group of the subgenus Haplostyleae, a natural group showing highly advanced morphological characteristics, together with several C3 species. In spite of there being rather few C4 species, they possessed two kinds of Kranz anatomical structure differing from each other in the location of Kranz cells. Some C3 species of Capitatae showed radial arrangement in mesophyll cells surrounding vascular bundles, which is distinguished from typical non-Kranz anatomy. The C4 species extended their ecological ranges from wet habitats to dry savanna grasslands, while the C3 species showed the best development in wet habitats. The C3 species were widespread from tropical to temperate regions with partial range extension into subarctic regions of both hemispheres, showing conspicuously high concentration of species in the New World, but being absent from arid climatic regions. The C4 species were distributed mostly in tropics and subtropics, showing two separate distributional centers in South and Central America and in Tropical Asia and Australia. The range of C4 species was nearly completely included in the C3 range. In conclusion, it seems that in Rhynchospora the C4 syndrome evolved relatively recently, and arose in at least two separate phylogenetic trends in the tropics and the subtropics, more probably in the Neotropics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes