, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 197-211

First online:

Cladistics of the Spermatophyta

  • Henry LoconteAffiliated withNew York Botanical Garden
  • , Dennis W. StevensonAffiliated withNew York Botanical Garden

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A cladistic interpretation of seed plant phylogeny is presented that supports the traditional morphological hypothesis: [Cycadales-(Ginkgoales-(Coniferales-(Gnetales-Angiosperms)))]. Gnetales and Angiosperms are supported as sister groups of theAnaspermae. A sister-group relationship between Coniferales and Ginkgoales represents a paraphyletic group, because Coniferales and Anaspermae share a common ancestry (Mesospermae). Ginkgoales and Mesospermae are sister groups of theCladospermae. Cycadales are supported as the most archaic Spermatophyta.A posteriori consideration of fossil taxa supports the conclusion that data from the fossil record are useful for confirming plesiomorphies of extant taxa. Fossil taxa with apomorphic character states are discussed as biasing for superficial accelerated transformations, which are probably unacceptable from the standpoint of morphological homology.