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  • Conifer forest of black spruce and Jack pine.
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    The relative weight of ontogeny, topology and climate in the architectural development of three North American conifers

    Knowledge of plant architecture allows for the retrospective study of plant development, and through modelling and simulation this development can be linked to environmental constraints and to predict responses to global change. In a recent study published in AoBP, Buissart et al. aimed to determine some of the main endogenous (ontogenic, topological) and exogenous (climate, […] More

  • Varying vegetation
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    Evidence that divergent selection shapes a developmental cline in a forest tree species complex

    Evolutionary change in developmental trajectories (heterochrony) is a major mechanism of adaptation in plants and animals. However, there are few detailed studies of the variation in the timing of developmental events among wild populations. João Costa e Silva and colleagues aimed to identify the climatic drivers and measure selection shaping a genetic-based developmental cline among […] More

  • SEM micrograph of an anthetic Geranium maderense flower showing the complex synorganisation and revolver architecture.
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    On nectaries and floral architecture

    Nectaries are the most interesting organs in flowers – at least to me. Compared to other floral organs (i.e. perianth organs, stamens and carpels), the position of nectaries is not necessarily fixed within the floral morphology. This makes them especially interesting to evolutionary studies. Additionally, and most importantly, nectaries produce nectar. In many angiosperm flowers, […] More

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    The benefits of sleeping in

    The early bird catches the worm, but does the frost catch the early plant? A new article in AmJBot says there are advantages for a plant to germinate late. More

  • Trunk epicormics and growth in Fagus sylvatica
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    Trunk epicormics and growth in Fagus sylvatica

    Epicormic shoots in European beech, Fagus sylvatica, may be associated with decreased radial growth. Colin et al. study the number of axillary buds, shoot length, ring width profiles, epicormic shoots and other epicormics in dominant and dominated forks. Using a zero-inflated mixed model, they show that sprouting depends positively on epicormic frequency and negatively on radial […] More

  • Ontogeny and responses to apical damage
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    Ontogeny and responses to apical damage

    Plants can tolerate tissue loss through vigorous branching, often triggered by release from apical dominance and activation of lateral meristems. In the annual plant Medicago truncatula, Gruntman and Novoplansky show that damage-induced meristem activation is an adaptive response that can be modified according to the plant’s developmental stage, severity of tissue loss and their interaction. […] More

  • Growth and carbon budgets in Nothofagus
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    Growth and carbon budgets in Nothofagus

    Growth decline with age in trees is hypothesized to be an effect of carbon limitation. By assessing carbon reserves and isotopes at different ontogenetic stages in the deciduous broadleaf tree Nothofagus pumilio (lenga beech) in two forests in southern Chile,  Piper and Fajardo test this hypothesis and find that carbon reserves do not vary with tree […] More

  • Physical dormancy and the water gap in Geranium
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    Physical dormancy and the water gap in Geranium

    Physical dormancy and the water gap in <i>Geranium</i> A water gap is a small opening that forms on breaking of dormancy in physically dormant seeds or fruits. Gama-Arachchige et al. examine the development of the micropylar region of seeds of Geranium carolinianum and report on the ontogeny of the micropyle–water gap complex. Post-pollination development of […] More

  • Floral form and ontogeny of Annonaceae
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    Floral form and ontogeny of Annonaceae

    Floral form and ontogeny of Annonaceae Annonaceae are a remarkably diverse family of Magnoliales. Xu and Ronse De Craene investigate the floral development of 15 species using SEM to understand the basis for evolutionary change in flowers of Annonaceae. They find that the merism is variable with transitions between trimery and tetramery. Members of the […] More