This volume is the outcome of a modern phylogenetic analysis of the grass family based on multiple sources of data, in particular molecular systematic studies resulting from a concerted effort by researchers worldwide, including the author. In the classification given here grasses are subdivided into 12 subfamilies with 29 tribes and over 700 genera. The keys and descriptions for the taxa above the rank of genus are hierarchical, i.e. they concentrate upon characters which are deemed to be synapomorphic for the lineages and may be applicable only to their early-diverging taxa.
Beyond the treatment of phylogeny and formal taxonomy, the author presents a wide range of information on topics such as the structural characters of grasses, their related functional aspects and particularly corresponding findings from the field of developmental genetics with inclusion of genes and gene products instrumental in the shaping of morphological traits (in which this volume appears unique within this book series); further topics addressed include the contentious time of origin of the family, the emigration of the originally shade-loving grasses out of the forest to form vast grasslands accompanied by the switch of many members to C4 photosynthesis, the impact of herbivores on the silica cycle housed in the grass phytoliths, the reproductive biology of grasses, the domestication of major cereal crops and the affinities of grasses within the newly circumscribed order Poales.
This volume provides a comprehensive overview of existing knowledge on the Poaceae (Gramineae), with major implications in terms of key scientific challenges awaiting future research. It certainly will be of interest both for the grass specialist and also the generalist seeking state-of-the-art information on the diversity of grasses, the most ecologically and economically important of the families of flowering plants.
The flora of China is astonishing in its diversity. With 32,500 species of vascular plants, over fifty per cent of which are endemic, it has more botanical variety than anywhere else in the world and provides unbroken connections to all its landscapes - from tropical to subtropical, temperate and boreal forests. This book tells the story of the plants of China: from the evolution of the flora through time to the survey of the bioclimatic zones, soundly based on chapters with information on climate, physical geography and soils. The history of botany and its study are also examined, with chapters dedicated to forestry, medicinal plants and ornamentals, with the changing flora, aliens, extinction and conservation also discussed. An essential read for years to come, The Plants of China shows that an understanding of the flora of China is crucial to interpreting plant evolution and fossil history elsewhere in the world.
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