Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 355 (1398), 847-55

The Relationships of Vascular Plants

Affiliations
Review

The Relationships of Vascular Plants

P Kenrick. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci.

Abstract

Recent phylogenetic research indicates that vascular plants evolved from bryophyte-like ancestors and that this involved extensive modifications to the life cycle. These conclusions are supported by a range of systematic data, including gene sequences, as well as evidence from comparative morphology and the fossil record. Within vascular plants, there is compelling evidence for two major clades, which have been termed lycophytes (clubmosses) and euphyllophytes (seed plants, ferns, horsetails). The implications of recent phylogenetic work are discussed with reference to life cycle evolution and the interpretation of stratigraphic inconsistencies in the early fossil record of land plants. Life cycles are shown to have passed through an isomorphic phase in the early stages of vascular plant evolution. Thus, the gametophyte generation of all living vascular plants is the product of massive morphological reduction. Phylogenetic research corroborates earlier suggestions of a major representational bias in the early fossil record. Mega-fossils document a sequence of appearance of groups that is at odds with that predicted by cladogram topology. It is argued here that the pattern of appearance and diversification of plant megafossils owes more to changing geological conditions than to rapid biological diversification.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 10 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

References

    1. Nature. 1998 Aug 13;394(6694):671-4 - PubMed
    1. Science. 1992 Mar 27;255(5052):1697-9 - PubMed
    1. EMBO J. 1996 Mar 15;15(6):1403-11 - PubMed
    1. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 1994 Jun;3(2):114-27 - PubMed
    1. Am J Bot. 1999 Mar;86(3):372-86 - PubMed

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback