Ancestors of modern land plants evolved in aquatic environments, with the first land plants appearing around 470–700 million years ago. Terrestrial colonization has been credited to a series of major revolutions in the body plan, anatomy and biochemistry of plants which is required for their survival and reproduction. Plant adaptations to life on land encompassed development of many specialized structures such as water-repellent cuticles, stomata for regulating water evaporation, structures for collecting sunlight, a vascular transport system and many more. In addition, intricate signalling mechanisms regulated by hormones for the perception of the environment have also come into place in higher plants. How these features have evolved in modern-day plants and how these have contributed to diversity are fascinating. In this chapter, we aim to shed light on a few interesting facets of plant functions with a bearing on evolution, which have not only contributed to their establishment on land but also allowed their enormous expansion leading to huge diversity. We believe that plants have a remarkable ability to adapt themselves in the ever-changing environments, despite being rooted to ground.
KeywordsAngiosperms Evolution Gymnosperms Parasitism Perennial plants Plant survival Polyploidy
SKS acknowledges SERB Distinguished Fellowship received from Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). CK acknowledges DST-INSPIRE Faculty Award (IFA-14/LSPA-24) received from the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
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