Secrets of succulence
Journal of Experimental Botany
Oxford University Press
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Males, J. (2017). Secrets of succulence. Journal of Experimental Botany https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx096
Succulent plants are iconic components of the florae of many terrestrial ecosystems, but despite having caused fascination and prompted investigation for centuries, they still harbour many secrets in terms of physiological function and evolution. Tackling these mysteries is important, as this will not only provide insights into the dynamics and details of the convergent evolution of a major adaptive syndrome, but also inform efforts to conserve endangered biodiversity and utilize the unique physiological characteristics of succulents for biofuel and biomass production. Here I review advances in the phylogeny and organismal biology of succulent plants, and discuss how insights from recent work in the wider fields of plant hydraulics and photosynthetic physiology may relate to succulents. The potential for the exploration of mechanistic relationships between anatomical structure and physiological function to improve our understanding of the constraints that have shaped the evolution of succulence is highlighted. Finally, attention is drawn to how new methodologies and technologies provide exciting opportunities to address the wide range of outstanding questions in succulent plant biology.
adaptation, CAM, convergent evolution, plant hydraulics, succulence, water relations
JM is funded by Natural Environment Research Council award 1359020.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erx096
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/264323