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[EBOOK] Plant Form: An Illustrated Guide to Flowering Plant Morphology, Adrian D. Bell (School of Biological Sciences University College of North Wales), Published by OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

Flowering plants exhibit a fascinating array of external structures which can be studied with the nuked eye or at most a simple hand lens. This is the science of plant morphology, the term being used hero in the sense that excludes plant anatomy. Although an understanding of the form and external components of a plant should he the foundation of any botanical investigation, it is customary to rush ahead, delving deep into the plant, and thus either ignoring or missing the very features that the plant presents to the environment. The situation is very well-expressed by my namcsBkc, Professor p. R. Bell (1985): ‘In recent years the spectacular advances in molecular biology have generated such excitement that there has perhaps been a tendency for organisms to be overlooked. Biology must nevertheless remain “organ Ismlc", and the researcher who loses the concept of organisms seriously weakens his claim to be a biologist'. A blinkered attitude to plants probably commences at school level and continues through university. Excellent texts of plant morphology do exist, but they tend to presume a foundation of botanical education that is no longer available. The ground rules of plant morphology are, by and large, forgotten (Kaplan 197hr). The student of botany feels this defect but does not knọtv how to resolve it; the academic conceals his ignorance. It is tempting to suggest that many an enthusiastic amateur horticulturist understands plants more intimately in terms of their morphology than does the average botanist. This criticism cannot be levelled, however, at the taxonomist who Is armed with a great deal of morphological knowhow, heavily biased towards Oorai structure, and has at his disposal a profusion of terminology that is daunting to the beginner and expert alike. A guide is thus required for the benefit of both. This book is deliberately, I hope, attractive, the better to woo the budding botanist and the curious amateur planrsman. It is divided into two parts. The first part ìllusưatcs and explains much of the purely descriptive terminology involved in plant morphology, whilst the second part deals with an equally important but largely ignored aspect of morphology: constructional organization. The planr Is developing, its organs are developing, most flowering plants branch, the hranchtng patterns of the plant develop over time, and growth is dynamic. Cover of this aspect of plant morphology, which is of relevance to the ecologist and the population biologist (Harper 1980), culminates in an example drawn from the contemporary morphological world, that of Che dynamic architecture of tropical trees. 'Hie author’s fascination with plant morphology has been fostered by a providential succession of mentors, A. D. Prince at school, N. Woodhcad at college, and p. B. Tomlinson ever since. Their teachings have one principle: if the morphology of a plant surprises you, then this is more likely to reflect your ignorance rather than an abnormality on the part of the plant. An unfortunate preoccupation with European plants in the past led moiphologists to be taken aback by the exuberance of the world’s vegetation, especially that of the tropics. But this Is where the range of plant form can best be appreciated.

[EBOOK] Plant Form: An Illustrated Guide to Flowering Plant Morphology, Adrian D. Bell (School of Biological Sciences University College of North Wales), Published by OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS


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