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Evolutionary and ecological significance of photosynthetic organs in Phyllocladus (Podocarpaceae)


Dorken, VM and Hill, RS and Jordan, GJ and Parsons, RF, Evolutionary and ecological significance of photosynthetic organs in Phyllocladus (Podocarpaceae), Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society Article boaa106. ISSN 0024-4074 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2021 The Linnean Society of London

DOI: doi:10.1093/botlinnean/boaa106


The structure of phylloclades and true leaves in Phyllocladus was investigated with emphasis on function, ecology and evolution. Only in the earliest ontogenetic stages are true, needle leaves developed. The earliest phylloclades comprise a fusion product of a shoot axis of the first order and its inserted leaves. Later, this is augmented by the expansion of axillary short shoots from the base of some of the fused leaves. Phylloclades of mature individuals are entire short shoot systems, including leaves and shoots, becoming fused with photosynthetic tissue. These phylloclades represent one of the adaptations for increasing functional photosynthetic area that are present in Podocarpaceae. Such adaptations were probably needed because Podocarpaceae are usually medium-sized trees faced with competition from the ever-expanding angiosperm forests at mid to high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere from the Late Cretaceous, but especially during the Palaeocene–Eocene, when dense and diverse angiosperm-dominated rainforests were common. The data obtained from living species were compared to those from fossil material of Phyllocladus. Phyllocladus with fully developed phylloclades have been in place since at least the early Cenozoic.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:anatomical adaptations, climate, conifers, evergreen forest, evolution, palaeoecology
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Plant biology
Research Field:Plant developmental and reproductive biology
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
ID Code:142533
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP160100809)
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2021-01-22
Last Modified:2021-07-28

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