This introductory chapter chronicles in general the enormous increase in complexity in plants since plants colonized the land, and the consequences of this for terrestrial ecosystems. The principles of developmental biology and morphological evolution are briefly covered as an introduction to the study of the evolution of developmental mechanisms in plants (plant evo-devo). Important concepts such as organ homology, heterochrony, heterotopy, and homeosis are discussed in relation to plant evolution and empirical plant morphology. Examples are given of how plants achieve evolutionary innovation at there molecular level, as well as regressive evolution (organ loss and reversion of character states). Finally, the chapter concludes with a reflection on some morphological preoccupations of the last century by examining the work of Corner and Sporne.
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