Genetic and molecular studies have recently come to dominate botanical research at the expense of more traditional morphological approaches. This broad introduction to modern flower systematics demonstrates the great potential that floral morphology has to complement molecular data in phylogenetic and evolutionary investigations. Contributions from experts in floral morphology and evolution take the reader through examples of how flowers have diversified in a large variety of lineages of extant and fossil flowering plants. They explore angiosperm origins and the early evolution of flowers and analyse the significance of morphological characters for phylogenetic reconstructions on the tree of life. The importance of integrating morphology into modern botanical research is highlighted through case studies exploring specific plant groups where morphological investigations are having a major impact. Examples include the clarification of phylogenetic relationships and understanding the significance and evolution of specific floral characters, such as pollination mechanisms and stamen and carpel numbers.
List of contributors; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: establishing the state of the art - the role of morphology in plant systematics Louis Ronse De Craene and Livia Wanntorp; 2. Spatial separation and developmental divergence of male and female reproductive units in gymnosperms, and their relevance to the origin of the angiosperm flower Richard Bateman, Jason Hilton and Paula Rudall; 3. New flowers of Laurales from the Early Cretaceous (Early to Middle Albian) of eastern North America Maria von Balthazar, Peter R. Crane, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen and Else Marie Friis; 4. Tracing the early evolutionary diversification of the angiosperm flower James A. Doyle and Peter K. Endress; 5. Changing views of flower evolution and new questions Peter K. Endress; 6. Centrifugal stamens in a modern phylogenetic context - was Corner right? Paula Rudall; 7. Evolution of the palm androecium as revealed by character mapping on a supertree Sophie Nadot, Julie Sannier, Anders Barfod and William J. Baker; 8. Comparative floral structure and development of Nitrariaceae (Sapindales) and systematic implications Julien B. Bachelier, Peter K. Endress and Louis P. Ronse De Craene; 9. Multiplications of floral organs in flowers - a case study in Conostegia (Melastomataceae, Myrtales) Livia Wanntorp, Carmen Puglisi, Darin Penneys and Louis Ronse De Craene; 10. Ontogenetic and phylogenetic diversification in Marantaceae - a review Alexandra C. Ley and Regine Classen-Bockhoff; 11. Floral ontogeny of Acacia celastrifolia: an enigmatic mimosoid legume with pronounced polyandry and multiple carpels Gerhard Prenner; 12. Floral development of Napoleonaea (Lecythidaceae), a deceptively complex flower Louis Ronse De Craene; Taxon index; Subject index.
Livia Wanntorp currently works as a researcher at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm where she leads several projects involving flower morphology and systematics of many different groups of the flowering plants. She is associate editor of the journal Plant Systematics and Evolution and president of the Swedish Systematics Association. Louis Ronse De Craene is director of the MSc course on Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. His research interests include the morphology and evolution of flowers and encompass a broad range of angiosperm families. He is the author of Floral Diagrams: An Aid to Understanding Flower Morphology and Evolution (Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Reviews for Flowers on the Tree of Life
... [an] excellent symposium volume. A useful work for specialists and advanced students. Recommended. R. Schmid, Choice Magazine