Colby College Biology 211: Taxonomy of Flowering Plants

Carex pringlei

Drawing by Allen Solomon
UofAz Palynology

Cyperaceae are abundant in aquatic vegetation, in alpine meadows, and as understory plants in mesic forests.

Pollen light micrograph:
Pollen grains circular to wedge-shaped ca. 16 - 60 µm with one to fourlarge irregular apertures covered with patches of irregular tectum. The apertures are circular to oblong. Faegri, Kaland and Krzywinkski (1989, p. 284) provide a key to seven European Cyperaceae types, based on these criteria, but to reach the special key, one can begin either with the monoporate or periporate pollen classes. Kapp (1969) keys Cyperaceae as either inaperturate or periporate.

Pollen scanning electron micrograph (SEM)
Rough apertures plainly visible.

Production and Dispersal:
Wind pollinated with low production and dispersal.

Moderately well preserved.

Fossil Occurrence:
The pollen of aquatic plants is not routinely included in the pollen sum to avoid local bias, so Cyperaceae pollen should be excluded if it originates from aquatic plants, but it should be included if is from plants growing in upland settings. The problem is that it is not always possible to make species-level identification of the Cyperaceae. Thus, the choice of whether to include it in the sum may rest on an assumption as to its origin.

    Faegri, K., Kaland, P.E., and Krzywinski, K. 1989.
    Faegri, K. and J. Iversen Textbook of Pollen Analysis. John Wiley & Sons New York (Fourth Edition by ) 328 p.

    Kapp, R.O. 1969.
    How to know pollen and spores. W. C. Brown Co. Publ. Dubuque, Iowa. 249 p.


Owen K. Davis 12/99