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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Explain why angiosperms are the dominant form of plant life in most terrestrial ecosystems
  • Discuss the two main groups of flowering plants

Diversity of angiosperms

Angiosperms are classified in a single phylum: the Anthophyta    . Modern angiosperms appear to be a monophyletic group, which means that they originate from a single ancestor. Flowering plants are divided into two major groups, according to the structure of the cotyledons, pollen grains, and other structures. Monocots include grasses and lilies, and eudicots or dicots form a polyphyletic group. Basal angiosperms are a group of plants that are believed to have branched off before the separation into monocots and eudicots because they exhibit traits from both groups. They are categorized separately in many classification schemes. The Magnoliidae (magnolia trees, laurels, and water lilies) and the Piperaceae (peppers) belong to the basal angiosperm group.

Basal angiosperms

The Magnoliidae are represented by the magnolias: tall trees bearing large, fragrant flowers that have many parts and are considered archaic ( [link] d ). Laurel trees produce fragrant leaves and small, inconspicuous flowers. The Laurales grow mostly in warmer climates and are small trees and shrubs. Familiar plants in this group include the bay laurel, cinnamon, spice bush ( [link] a ), and avocado tree. The Nymphaeales are comprised of the water lilies, lotus ( [link] c ), and similar plants; all species thrive in freshwater biomes, and have leaves that float on the water surface or grow underwater. Water lilies are particularly prized by gardeners, and have graced ponds and pools for thousands of years. The Piperales are a group of herbs, shrubs, and small trees that grow in the tropical climates. They have small flowers without petals that are tightly arranged in long spikes. Many species are the source of prized fragrance or spices, for example the berries of Piper nigrum ( [link] b ) are the familiar black peppercorns that are used to flavor many dishes.

 Photo A depicts a common spicebush plant with bright red berries growing at the tips of red stems. Illustration B shows a pepper plant with teardrop-shaped leaves and tiny flowers clustered on a long stem. Photo C shows lotus plants with broad, circular leaves and pink flowers growing in water. Photo D shows red magnolia seeds clustered in an egg-shaped pink sac scattered with small, brown spikes.
The (a) common spicebush belongs to the Laurales , the same family as cinnamon and bay laurel. The fruit of (b) the Piper nigrum plant is black pepper, the main product that was traded along spice routes. Notice the small, unobtrusive, clustered flowers. (c) Lotus flowers, Nelumbo nucifera , have been cultivated since ancient times for their ornamental value; the root of the lotus flower is eaten as a vegetable. The red seeds of (d) a magnolia tree, characteristic of the final stage, are just starting to appear. (credit a: modification of work by Cory Zanker; credit b: modification of work by Franz Eugen Köhler; credit c: modification of work by "berduchwal"/Flickr; credit d: modification of work by "Coastside2"/Wikimedia Commons).

Monocots

Plants in the monocot group are primarily identified as such by the presence of a single cotyledon in the seedling. Other anatomical features shared by monocots include veins that run parallel to the length of the leaves, and flower parts that are arranged in a three- or six-fold symmetry. True woody tissue is rarely found in monocots. In palm trees, vascular and parenchyma tissues produced by the primary and secondary thickening meristems form the trunk. The pollen from the first angiosperms was monosulcate, containing a single furrow or pore through the outer layer. This feature is still seen in the modern monocots. Vascular tissue of the stem is not arranged in any particular pattern. The root system is mostly adventitious and unusually positioned, with no major tap root. The monocots include familiar plants such as the true lilies (which are at the origin of their alternate name of Liliopsida), orchids, grasses, and palms. Many important crops are monocots, such as rice and other cereals, corn, sugar cane, and tropical fruits like bananas and pineapples ( [link] ).

 Under monocots, the first photo shows rice, which has long, think blade-like leaves and clusters of seeds on long stems. The second photo shows wheat, which is similar in appearance to rice. The third photo shows a banana tree, with bunches of green bananas growing upward. Under dicots, the first shows light brown, oval-shaped beans with dark brown flecks. The second photo shows leafy cabbages growing in a garden. The third photo shows peaches growing on a tree.
The world’s major crops are flowering plants. (a) Rice, (b) wheat, and (c) bananas are monocots, while (d) cabbage, (e) beans, and (f) peaches are dicots. (credit a: modification of work by David Nance, USDA ARS; credit b, c: modification of work by Rosendahl; credit d: modification of work by Bill Tarpenning, USDA; credit e: modification of work by Scott Bauer, USDA ARS; credit f: modification of work by Keith Weller, USDA)

Eudicots

Eudicots, or true dicots, are characterized by the presence of two cotyledons in the developing shoot. Veins form a network in leaves, and flower parts come in four, five, or many whorls. Vascular tissue forms a ring in the stem; in monocots, vascular tissue is scattered in the stem. Eudicots can be herbaceous    (like grasses), or produce woody tissues. Most eudicots produce pollen that is trisulcate or triporate, with three furrows or pores. The root system is usually anchored by one main root developed from the embryonic radicle. Eudicots comprise two-thirds of all flowering plants. The major differences between monocots and eudicots are summarized in [link] . Many species exhibit characteristics that belong to either group; as such, the classification of a plant as a monocot or a eudicot is not always clearly evident.

Comparison of Structural Characteristics of Monocots and Eudicots
Characteristic Monocot Eudicot
Cotyledon One Two
Veins in Leaves Parallel Network (branched)
Stem Vascular Tissue Scattered Arranged in ring pattern
Roots Network of adventitious roots Tap root with many lateral roots
Pollen Monosulcate Trisulcate
Flower Parts Three or multiple of three Four, five, multiple of four or five and whorls

Section summary

Angiosperms are the dominant form of plant life in most terrestrial ecosystems, comprising about 90 percent of all plant species. Most crops and ornamental plants are angiosperms. Their success comes from two innovative structures that protect reproduction from variability in the environment: the flower and the fruit. Flowers were derived from modified leaves. The main parts of a flower are the sepals and petals, which protect the reproductive parts: the stamens and the carpels. The stamens produce the male gametes in pollen grains. The carpels contain the female gametes (the eggs inside the ovules), which are within the ovary of a carpel. The walls of the ovary thicken after fertilization, ripening into fruit that ensures dispersal by wind, water, or animals.

The angiosperm life cycle is dominated by the sporophyte stage. Double fertilization is an event unique to angiosperms. One sperm in the pollen fertilizes the egg, forming a diploid zygote, while the other combines with the two polar nuclei, forming a triploid cell that develops into a food storage tissue called the endosperm. Flowering plants are divided into two main groups, the monocots and eudicots, according to the number of cotyledons in the seedlings. Basal angiosperms belong to an older lineage than monocots and eudicots.

Art connections

[link] If a flower lacked a megasporangium, what type of gamete would not form? If the flower lacked a microsporangium, what type of gamete would not form?

[link] Without a megasporangium, an egg would not form; without a microsporangium, pollen would not form.

Questions & Answers

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Damian Reply
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s. Reply
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
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Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
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SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
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s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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Damian Reply
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Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
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preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
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AMJAD
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AMJAD
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In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
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anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
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after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
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silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
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Azam
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I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
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Prasenjit
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Source:  OpenStax, Bmcc 102 - concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Aug 11, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11856/1.3
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