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Int J Plant Sci. 1999 Nov;160(S6):S105-S111.

An Essay on Juvenility, Phase Change, and Heteroblasty in Seed Plants.


Phase change (the change from nonreproductive to reproductive status) and heteroblasty (ontogenetic changes in vegetative metamers) are two determinants of longitudinal asymmetry in plants. These concepts are critically important to understanding the regulation of plant development as well as morphological evolution and life-history variation. Since Goebel, the two have been conflated. This article questions how phase change and heteroblasty are delimited and explores some of the problems that arise in the explicit or implicit link between them, given that several lines of evidence indicate that they are distinct and independent facets of plant development. It is suggested that problems are perpetuated through use of the terms "juvenile" and "adult" to describe both phenomena.


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