4 years ago

Size-dependent variation in plant form

Size-dependent variation in plant form
Karl J. Niklas, Edward D. Cobb


The study of organic form has a long and distinguished history going at least as far back as Aristotle's Historia Anima¯lium, wherein he identified five basic biological processes that define the forms of animals (metabolism, temperature regulation, information processing, embryo development, and inheritance). Unfortunately, all of Aristotle's writings about plant forms are lost. We know of them only indirectly from his student Theophrastus's companion books, collectively called Historia Plantarum, wherein plant forms are categorized into annual herbs, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and trees. The study of plant forms did not truly begin until the romantic poet and naturalist Goethe proposed the concept of a hypothetical ‘Plant Archetype', declared "Alles ist Blatt", and first coined the word morphologie, which inspired the French anatomist Cuvier (who established the field of comparative morphology), the English naturalist Darwin (who saw his theory of evolution reinforced by it), and the Scottish mathematician D'Arcy Thompson (who attempted to quantify it).

Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)30143-4

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.02.007

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