The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is the key organizing element of the plant body. Surprisingly, there are almost no across-species comparative data showing links between the SAM and whole-plant traits such as leaf size, stem diameter or seed mass.
Schnablová et al. show that such relationships do exist, and moreover, that as a result of recent convergent evolution species differ in their SAM cell number, which is correlated with a number of plant traits. This study suggests that SAM indeed provides a strong link informing traits of plant organs, and is a key component of plant’s evolutionary response to the environment.
Schnablová, R., Herben, T., & Klimešová, J. (2017). Shoot apical meristem and plant body organization: a cross-species comparative study. Annals of Botany, 120(5), 833–843. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcx116