Carnivorous plants: phylogeny and structural evolution

Science  11 Sep 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5076, pp. 1491-1495
DOI: 10.1126/science.1523408


The carnivorous habit in flowering plants represents a grade of structural organization. Different morphological features associated with the attraction, trapping, and digestion of prey characterize a diversity of specialized forms, including the familiar pitcher and flypaper traps. Phylogenetic analysis of nucleotide sequence data from the plastic rbcL gene indicates that both carnivory and stereotyped trap forms have arisen independently in different lineages of angiosperms. Furthermore, these results demonstrate that flypaper traps share close common ancestry with all other trap forms. Recognition of these patterns of diversification may provide ideal, naturally occurring systems for studies of developmental processes underlying macromorphological evolution in angiosperms.

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