R is one of the most commonly used analytical tools in the plant sciences. To identify key trends in general reported R use and patterns in photosynthesis research, we explored the frequency of R use in 2966 articles published in the 377 journals with 'photosynthesis' in the title from 2010 to 2019 using the Web of Science search. Solutions provided by each R package cited in the articles or online sources was recorded and classified. The percentage of research articles reporting R use increased linearly from 3.6% in 2010 to 12.5% in 2019. The three main categories of R package solutions were 'general statistical calculations and graph packages' (G); 'photosynthesis special-purpose packages' (S); and 'genetic and evolutionary packages' (E). The top five R packages cited were nlme (G), lme4 (G), multcomp (G), plantecophys (S), and ape (E). The increasing popularity of R use in photosynthesis research is due to its user-friendly and abundant open-source codes online for handling specific issues, particularly in fitting photosynthesis models. These findings are limited by the number of articles and online sources, but they reveal a significant increase in usage in photosynthesis research over the past decade and have a bright prospect in the future.