Metamorphosis (botany)

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A metamorphosis ( ancient Greek μεταμόρφωσις Metamorphosis , μετά META , German , in ' , with', as a prefix, environmentally ', μορφή morphs , German , shape'μόρφωσις MORPHOSIS , German , design ' ) is the ontogenetic adapt a plant to their respective environmental conditions in order to ensure their survival under the most diverse living conditions.

They succeed in this in the course of their development by transforming their basic organs according to the necessary new or additional tasks. Only the assumption of new or additional functions by the basic organs enables plants to colonize the most diverse habitats on earth. The resulting morphological changes led in the course of evolution (phylogenesis) to today's variety of forms in the plant world.

The transformation of the three basic organs root , stem and leaf to adapt to special living and environmental conditions is called metamorphosis in botany . A distinction can be made between root , leaf and shoot metamorphoses .

In the metamorphosis of the root, for example, storage roots, adherent roots, suction roots and support roots are distinguished. We see sugar beet or dahlia as storage roots . Adhesive roots are, for example, ivy , which forms feet to cling to the walls. The mistletoe forms suction roots and the mangrove forms support roots .

The regular change in shape of the leaves along the shoot in herbaceous flowering plants is also referred to as leaf metamorphosis . This was intensively studied by Goethe and presented in his work attempt to explain the metamorphosis of plants . According to Goethe, the flower is a metamorphosis of the leaf principle. Compare also: Urpflanze .

Metamorphoses are also known in the flowers of a few species. For example, in the species from the subgenus Polychilos of the genus Phalaenopsis, the petals do not wither after pollination. Instead, they turn green until the capsule fruit is fully ripe. The flowers thus become part of the plant's photosynthetic apparatus and probably increase the production of relevant photosynthates.


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adrian D. Bell: Illustrated morphology of flowering plants. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart 1994, ISBN 3-8252-8089-6 .
  2. ^ Adrian D. Bell: Plant form. An illustrated guide to flowering plant morphology. Timber Press, Portland / London 2008, ISBN 978-0-88192-850-1 .
  3. Eric A. Christenson: Phalaenopsis. A monograph. Timber Press, Portland 2001, p. 77.