Davis, Jerrold I. Department of Plant Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
Last reviewed:October 2019
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- Plastids as endosymbionts
- Alternation of generations
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The evolutionary chronicle of plant life on Earth. A phylogeny is a description, in words or diagrams, of the evolutionary history of a group of related species. It depicts a sequence of branching events and may also identify the characteristic features that mark various lineages. A plant phylogeny, therefore, is a phylogeny of plants (Fig. 1). Although most people have a general idea of what a plant is, it is difficult to supply a definition that is both simple and comprehensive. Under one possible definition, all eukaryotic organisms that have a particular type of organelle, the plastid, in their cells are recognized as plants. However, plastids have been transferred from existing plant groups into other kinds of organisms. Thus, there is a need for another conventional definition of plants, specifically one in which plants comprise only the lineages that diverged directly from the original plastid-bearing line, and from which other groups that acquired plastids from this line are excluded. See also: Botany; Cell plastids; Phylogeny
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