Flowers are the beautiful and complex reproductive structures of the angiosperms, one of the most diverse and successful groups of living organisms. The underlying thesis of Understanding Flowers & Flowering is that to fully understand plant development (and why flowers differ in shape, structure and colour), it is necessary to understand why it is advantageous for them to look like they do. Conversely, in order to fully understand plant ecology, it is necessary to appreciate how floral structures have developed and evolved. Uniquely, this book addresses flowers and flowering from both a molecular genetic perspective (considering flower induction, development and self-incompatibility) and an ecological perspective (looking at the selective pressures placed on plants by pollinators, and the consequences for animal-plant co-evolution).
Understanding Flowers & Flowering, the first edition of which won BES Marsh Book of the Year in 2009, begins by considering the evolution of flowers and the history of research into their development. This is followed by a detailed description of the processes which lead to flower production in model plants. The book then examines how flowers differ in shape, structure and colour, and how these differences are generated. Finally it assesses the role of these various aspects of floral biology in attracting pollinators and ensuring successful reproduction.
This new edition has been completely revised and updated to reflect the latest advances in the field, especially an increased understanding of the evolution of floral traits. New chapters consider the genetic basis of the floral transition in diverse species, as well as the evolutionary lability of floral form. There is a new focus throughout on both phylogenetic position and morphological diversity across the angiosperm phylogeny. Understanding Flowers & Flowering continues to provide the first truly integrated study of the topic – one that discusses both the how and why of flowering plant reproductive biology.
New to the second edition:
- Includes a new chapter on the influence of pollinators on floral form
- Fully revised and updated throughout with the latest developments in the field
Section I: Introduction
1: The Evolution of Flowers
2: Historical Interpretations of Flower Induction and Flower Development
Section II: The Molecular Mechanisms of Flowering: Induction and Development
Part A: Induction of Flowering
3: Flower Induction in Arabidopsis thaliana
4: The Autonomous Pathways for Floral Inhibition and Induction
5: The Photoperiodic Pathway of Floral Induction
6: The Vernalization Pathway of Floral Induction and the Role of Gibberellin
7: Integrating the Arabidopsis thaliana Flower Induction Pathways
8: Flower Induction Beyond Arabidopsis thaliana
Part B: Development of Flowers
9: Changes at the Shoot Apical Meristem in Response to Floral Induction
10: Development of the Floral Organs
11: The ABC Model and the Diversity of Plant Reproductive Structures
12: Function and Development of Gametophytes
13: Outcrossing and Self-fertilization
Section III: Pollination Success: Molecular and Ecological Interactions
Part A: How and Why Does Floral Form Vary?
14: Why Are Flowers Different? Pollination Syndromes-The Theory
15: Diverse Floral Shape and Structure
16: Colouring the Flower
17: Enhancing Flower Colour
18: Lability of Floral Form
Part B: The Influence of Pollinators on Floral Form
19: Are Flowers under Selective Pressure to Increase Pollinator Attention?
20: Do Pollinators Discriminate between Different Floral Forms?
21: Pollination Syndromes - The Evidence
Dr Beverley Glover is Professor of Plant Systematics and Evolution at the University of Cambridge and Director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden. She studied Plant and Environmental Biology at the University of St. Andrews and then a PhD at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. After that she moved to Cambridge, where her research interests are focused on the development, function and evolution of floral features which enhance attraction of pollinators.
"The first edition of this book won the BES Marsh Book Prize in 2009. Now updated, with new insights it is an even better book. [...] \/irtually every page gives equally fascinating insights, from the genetic control of flower induction and the development of gametophytes, to ideas of how and why flowers have different shapes, colours and fragrances. It would be even better printed in colour since the black and white photos are reproduced in colour in a centre spread and, given the visual nature of the subject. it requires a constant flicking around. Nevertheless, this a fascinating read."
– Peter Thomas, The BES Bulletin 45(2), June 2014
Reviews from the first edition:
"Flowers and Flowering is a well written text that would well serve undergraduates, early graduate students , or anyone with a solid biology background who is interested in floral biology."
" [...] a very carefully written, detailed and up-to-date book. It can be recommended as a text book for courses at the master's level and for PhD courses alike. It can also help the specialist to get a quick overview about expanding field. Finally, it is a great pleasure to read just for the love of flowers!"
– Plant Molecular Biology