Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 180, Issue 3–4, pp 137–156 | Cite as

Phylogenetic evidence for the herbaceous origin of angiosperms

  • David Winship Taylor
  • Leo J. Hickey


The ancestral angiosperm is commonly interpreted as an arborescent to shrubby magnolialean with large, multiparted, complex flowers. We examined this hypothesis using a phylogenetic analysis of new and reevaluated characters polarizabled with outgroup comparison. Our cladistic analysis of basal angiosperms placed the nonmagnolialeanChloranthaceae andPiperaceae at the bottom of the tree. We further inferred the probable ancestral states of characters not polarizable with outgroup comparison by examining their distribution among taxa at the base of our cladogram. The sum of ancestral character states suggests that the protoangiosperm was a diminutive, rhizomatous to scrambling perennial herb, with small, simple flowers.

Key words

Angiosperms evolution origin ancestral angiosperm morphology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Winship Taylor
    • 1
  • Leo J. Hickey
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Peabody MuseumYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geology and GeophysicsYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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