Lepidosperma (family Cyperaceae): classification and phylogeny of a big Australasian sedge genus

Start date:
01 Jan 2008
End date:
31 Dec 2018
RL Barrett JJ Bruhl J Hodgon G Plunkett CC Duke KL Wilson
Project sponsors:
Australian Biological Resources Study
Project partners:
Australian Biological Resources Study

Project aims

  • Elucidate the phylogeny of Lepidosperma using molecular and morphological data
  • Clarify the nomenclature of the species 
  • Describe new species


Project Summary

Lepidosperma is one of the larger genera in Cyperaceae (the 'sedges'), with about 75 described  species and at least as many again undescribed. Nearly all species are restricted to Australia, especially in the heathlands of the south-west and south-east. A few species occur in New Zealand and New Caledonia, and one from Malesia to S China.

Karen Wilson has had a long-standing interest in the genus and has described several new species. She did a preliminary survey in the 1990s, establishing the value of anatomical characters for distinguishing species. We are now examining specific limits and relationships in the genus using molecular, morphological and anatomical data. One sub-project is examining resin chemistry in the L. viscidum group; another is looking at myrmecochory in several species. 

Research Update