Flowering Plants. Eudicots

The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants

Book 8
Springer Science & Business Media
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This volume contains a complete systematic treatment of the flowering plant order Asterales. This comprises 12 families with approx. 1,720 genera and about 26,300 species. Identification keys are provided for all genera, and likely phylogenetic relationships are discussed extensively. The wealth of information contained in this volume makes it an indispensable source for all working in the fields of pure and applied plant sciences.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer Science & Business Media
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Published on
Jul 12, 2007
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Pages
636
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ISBN
9783540310518
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Biological Diversity
Science / Life Sciences / Botany
Science / Life Sciences / Ecology
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In the present volume taxonomic treatments including descriptions of and keys to the families and genera for the orders Santalales and Balanophorales are offered, the former group here comprising 12 families with 162 genera and about 2100 species, and the latter with the single family Balanophoraceae composed of 16 genera and about 42 species. The contentious family classification of Santalales has been thoroughly revised against the background of previous classifications as well as available structural and molecular evidence, and also the classification of Balanophoraceae has been carefully updated.

Santalales are predominantly hemiparasites connected with either the branches or the roots of other green land plants, whereas Balanophoraceae are holoparasites that form terrestrial tubers attached to the roots of woody hosts. In both orders, parasitism has led to considerable reductions of the vegetative and reproductive organs and detailed descriptions are given on the initiation of ramal and terrestrial parasitism in Santalales and the haustorial connection and tissue continuity between host and parasite in both groups. The dramatic reduction of the vegetative body in Balanophoraceae, which may lack all vegetative organs typically found in green land plants, has promoted studies in the field of developmental morphology. Thus, the volume not only provides an overview of the diversity of the plant groups treated therein, but also points to the interesting biological peculiarities that have evolved in connection with their singular lifestyle.

This volume is the outcome of a modern phylogenetic analysis of the grass family based on multiple sources of data, in particular molecular systematic studies resulting from a concerted effort by researchers worldwide, including the author. In the classification given here grasses are subdivided into 12 subfamilies with 29 tribes and over 700 genera. The keys and descriptions for the taxa above the rank of genus are hierarchical, i.e. they concentrate upon characters which are deemed to be synapomorphic for the lineages and may be applicable only to their early-diverging taxa.

Beyond the treatment of phylogeny and formal taxonomy, the author presents a wide range of information on topics such as the structural characters of grasses, their related functional aspects and particularly corresponding findings from the field of developmental genetics with inclusion of genes and gene products instrumental in the shaping of morphological traits (in which this volume appears unique within this book series); further topics addressed include the contentious time of origin of the family, the emigration of the originally shade-loving grasses out of the forest to form vast grasslands accompanied by the switch of many members to C4 photosynthesis, the impact of herbivores on the silica cycle housed in the grass phytoliths, the reproductive biology of grasses, the domestication of major cereal crops and the affinities of grasses within the newly circumscribed order Poales.

This volume provides a comprehensive overview of existing knowledge on the Poaceae (Gramineae), with major implications in terms of key scientific challenges awaiting future research. It certainly will be of interest both for the grass specialist and also the generalist seeking state-of-the-art information on the diversity of grasses, the most ecologically and economically important of the families of flowering plants.

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