This exciting new textbook examines the concepts of evolution as the underlying cause of the rich diversity of life on earth-and our danger of losing that rich diversity. Written as a college textbook, The Diversity and Evolution of Plants introduces the great variety of life during past ages, manifested by the fossil record, using a new natural classification system. It begins in the Proterozoic Era, when bacteria and bluegreen algae first appeared, and continues through the explosions of new marine forms in the Helikian and Hadrynian Periods, land plants in the Devonian, and flowering plants in the Cretaceous. Following an introduction, the three subkingdoms of plants are discussed. Each chapter covers one of the eleven divisions of plants and begins with an interesting vignette of a plant typical of that division. A section on each of the classes within the division follows. Each section describes where the groups of plants are found and their distinguishing features. Discussions in each section include phylogeny and classification, general morphology, and physiology, ecological significance, economic uses, and potential for research. Suggested readings and student exercises are found at the end of each chapter.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Origin and Evolution of Plants
Plant Diversity and Classification
Plant Diversity in Time and Space
The Red Line
Procaryotes or Fission Plants
Terrestrial Fungi: Molds and Mushrooms
Lichens and Other Symbiotic Plants
The Brown Line
Fire Plants and Cryptophytes
The Ubiquitous Algae: Diatoms and Other Chrysophytes
Kelps and Other Brown Seaweeds
The Green Line
The Pond "Mosses," Siphonophytes, and Stoneworts
Mosses and Liverworts
The Fern Allies and Origin of the Vascular Plants
Plants with Seeds: The Gymnosperms
Plants with Seeds: The Flowering Plants
"There can be no other word to describe this book than the term 'encyclopaedic.' Its 640 pages, 86 tables and 182 well-chosen illustrations provide a veritable mine of information and from an interdisciplinary point of view. It can, without any reservation, be recommended for its unexcelled presentation of material valuable for environmental conservation specialists..."
Richard Evans Schultes, Botanical Museum of Harvard University in Journal of Ethnobiology
"…a carefully structured and well-presented textbook that makes a special effort to provide students with starting poits for additional studies…because of its very readable style, this book will interest students to really think about plant evolution in a broad sense rather than simply learn facts."