Plants That Use C4 Carbon Fixation
About 7600 species of plants use C4 carbon fixation, which represents about 3% of all terrestrial species of plants. All these 7600 species are angiosperms. C4 carbon fixation is less common in dicots than in monocots, with only 4.5% of dicots using the C4 pathway, compared to 40% of monocots. Despite this, only three families of monocots utilise C4 carbon fixation compared to 15 dicot families. Of the monocot clades containing C4 plants, the grass (Poaceae) species use the C4 photosynthetic pathway most. Forty-six percent of grasses are C4 and together account for 61% of C4 species. These include the food crops maize, sugar cane, millet, and sorghum. Of the dicot clades containing C4 species, the order Caryophyllales contains the most species. Of the families in the Caryophyllales, the Chenopodiaceae use C4 carbon fixation the most, with 550 out of 1400 species using it. About 250 of the 1000 species of the related Amaranthaceae also use C4.
Members of the sedge family Cyperaceae, and numerous families of Eudicots, including the daisies Asteraceae, cabbages Brassicaceae, and spurges Euphorbiaceae also use C4.
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