The temperature dependence of C3 photosynthesis is known to vary with growth environment and with species. In an attempt to quantify this variability, a commonly used biochemically based photosynthesis model was parameterized from 19 gas exchange studies on tree and crop species. The parameter values obtained described the shape and amplitude of the temperature responses of the maximum rate of Rubisco activity (Vcmax) and the potential rate of electron transport (Jmax). Original data sets were used for this review, as it is shown that derived values of Vcmax and its temperature response depend strongly on assumptions made in derivation. Values of Jmax and Vcmax at 25 °C varied considerably among species but were strongly correlated, with an average Jmax : Vcmax ratio of 1·67. Two species grown in cold climates, however, had lower ratios. In all studies, the Jmax : Vcmax ratio declined strongly with measurement temperature. The relative temperature responses of Jmax and Vcmax were relatively constant among tree species. Activation energies averaged 50 kJ mol−1 for Jmax and 65 kJ mol−1 for Vcmax, and for most species temperature optima averaged 33 °C for Jmax and 40 °C for Vcmax. However, the cold climate tree species had low temperature optima for both Jmax(19 °C) and Vcmax (29 °C), suggesting acclimation of both processes to growth temperature. Crop species had somewhat different temperature responses, with higher activation energies for both Jmax and Vcmax, implying narrower peaks in the temperature response for these species. The results thus suggest that both growth environment and plant type can influence the photosynthetic response to temperature. Based on these results, several suggestions are made to improve modelling of temperature responses.