Cyperaceae is the second largest family of Poales, with about 5700 species distributed in two subfamilies and 95 genera. This family is characterized by the 3-sided stem, spike-shaped inflorescence and the absence of ligule. However, some genera are exceptions, like Fuirena Rottb., Carex L. and Scleria P.J.Bergius, which have a ligule. Scleria is the sixth largest genus of the family, and its relevant characteristics are the presence of ligule and contraligule in some species. Such structures are useful in the taxonomy of the genus, allowing the characterization of some species and being commonly present in identification keys. However, there are no papers on the anatomy and development of ligules and contraligules in the group that can be informative in the conceptualization of these structures and fundamental in the discussion of possible homologies with other groups of Poales that also present such characters. In this project three Brazilian species of Scleria will be analyzed, representing the morphological diversity of the ligule and contraligule known, so far, in Cyperaceae. The material will be submitted to the usual plant anatomy techniques, including optical and scanning electron microscopy. In parallel, the character states of the ligule and contraligule in the species represented in the current phylogeny of the group will be surveyed, based on literature data and visits to the main national and international herbaria that hold the largest collections of the genus. From the anatomical and ontogenetic data it will be possible to understand the nature of these structures and combined with the data obtained in the survey of the group, the concept and diversity of these characters will be understood in Scleria.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: