Trends of the Herbs Ecological Evolution

  • Sergei N. Sheremet’ev
  • Yuri V. Gamalei


The results of analytic research show that the evolution of leaf structure and water balance are completely coincident to global changes of planet climate and hydrology. Taxonomical diversity of herbs and herbaceous biomes is the function of paleoclimate variability and plant adaptogenesis to it. Two global trends of ecological evolution contrast differing by the composition of herbaceous adaptive types is the next: (a) the line of herbs of chilling plains with domination the group of plant species with C3 apoplastic syndrome formed under cold climate influence, and (b) the line of herbs of hot plains with domination of plant species with C4 apoplastic syndrome. Both trends include the monocots and dicots, and both are the results of climate changes in Cenozoic. C3 herbs of chilling plains and the steppe and meadow phytocoenosis formed by them arise as the answer to temperature decrease in great areas of high latitudes. The apoplastic syndrome (transfer from symplastic transport of assimilates suppressed by cold to their apoplastic transport) is the diagnostic test for this group of herbs. C4 herbs of hot plains and the savanna, desert and solontchak plant vegetation are the adaptive answer to aridization of low latitude areas. C4 syndrome (compensation of stomata closure by the mechanism of CO2 concentration in the leaf tissues) is a special sign of this group of herbs. Both types of herbaceous biomes come to change forest biomes which were strongly decreased in both areas, at low and high latitudes. This tendency is continued in parallels with climate tendency to continent desiccation and cooling.


Late Cretaceous Transpiration Rate Late Eocene Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration Water Saturation Deficit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding for this work was provided by a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (10-04-01165-a). We would like to thank Pierre Pontarotti and Marie-Hélène Rome for the invitation to contribute to the 15th evolutionary biology meeting at Marseille where this work was presented.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

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