The uniqueness of palms

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:P. B. Tomlinson
Journal:Botanical Journal of the Linnean SocietyBotanical Journal of the Linnean Society
ISBN Number:1095-8339
Keywords:cell longevity, monocotyledons, palm stem cells, plant anatomy, tree morphology, vascular system

Palms build tall trees entirely by primary growth in a way that limits their growth habit, but not their capacity for continued stem development. They achieve massive primary stature because of distinctive features of leaf development, stem vasculature and anatomical properties. They exhibit several record features of leaf and seed, and inflorescence size and leaves of great complexity. A marked ability to generate new roots allows them to be transplanted easily. As climbing plants they develop the longest unrooted stems in which there are, paradoxically, anomalous features of vascular construction compared with tree palms. It is here claimed that they are the world’s longest lived trees because stem cells of several kinds remain active in differentiated tissues throughout the life of the palm. Absence of physiological dormancy may be related to this property, together with inability to withstand freezing temperatures that would cause irreversible cavitation of tracheary elements. This largely restricts them to the tropics, for which they are emblematic organisms. In these biological features palms are indeed unique organisms. © 2006 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2006, 151, 5–14.

Short Title:Bot J Linn Soc
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith