Journal Article

Evolution of tree nutrition

John A. Raven and Mitchell Andrews

in Tree Physiology

Volume 30, issue 9, pages 1050-1071
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Evolution of tree nutrition

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Using a broad definition of trees, the evolutionary origins of trees in a nutritional context is considered using data from the fossil record and molecular phylogeny. Trees are first known from the Late Devonian about 380 million years ago, originated polyphyletically at the pteridophyte grade of organization; the earliest gymnosperms were trees, and trees are polyphyletic in the angiosperms. Nutrient transporters, assimilatory pathways, homoiohydry (cuticle, intercellular gas spaces, stomata, endohydric water transport systems including xylem and phloem-like tissue) and arbuscular mycorrhizas preceded the origin of trees. Nutritional innovations that began uniquely in trees were the seed habit and, certainly (but not necessarily uniquely) in trees, ectomycorrhizas, cyanobacterial, actinorhizal and rhizobial (Parasponia, some legumes) diazotrophic symbioses and cluster roots.

Keywords: angiosperms; carbon; diazotrophic symbioses; elemental composition; euphyllophyte; fossils; gymnosperms; lycophyte; mycorrhizas; nitrogen; phosphorus; phylogeny; pteridophytes; spermatophytes

Journal Article.  18195 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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