The chloroplast peripheral reticulum (PR) is a structure of unknown function. Some authors postulated that it is a characteristic feature of C₄ plants, although it was reported from C₃ species as well. It is unknown whether the occurrence of PR follows a phylogenetic (it is found in clades containing C₄ species, regardless of the photosynthetic type) or functional (photosynthetic pathway dependent) pattern. Here, we present a phylogenetically controlled analysis of the occurrence, form and functional aspects of PR in grasses. The occurrence of the PR follows a functional and not a phylogenetic pattern. Its most elaborated form (PR type I) is a unique feature of C₄ species. Although PR was found in some of the studied C₃ grasses, it was always less developed than PR in the chloroplasts of Kranz mesophyll cells of C₄ species. The size of PR in C₄ plants was found to increase when the plants were grown under low light intensity. Additional observations, such as a negative correlation between PR size and chloroplast surface and PR occurrence in vicinity of mitochondria or plasmodesmata, suggest that PR may play some role in C₄ metabolism.