Plant Systematics and Evolution vol:277 issue:1-2 pages:117-142
Pollen and orbicule morphology of 84 species, representing 52 genera from all tribes and subfamilies are investigated, in order to assess the systematic value of palynological data and to determine palynological evolutionary trends in Cyperaceae. A total of 90% of the species are examined for the first time with scanning electron microscopy. Pollen grains of Cyperaceae are oblate spheroidal to perprolate in shape, inaperturate to polyporate with opercula or pontopercula on pori or colpi. We distinguished seven different sexine ornamentation patterns. Orbicules occur in all species investigated. Pollen morphological variation within Cyperaceae is considerable and includes dispersal unit; number, location and degree of differentiation of apertural zones; and sexine ornamentation patterns. In subfamily Mapanioideae both tribes can be characterized by palynological synapomorphies. However, in subfamily Cyperoideae, the observed pattern of variation does not fit the most recent molecular phylogeny due to high levels of homoplasy and polymorphism in major pollen characters.