List of Examples of Convergent Evolution - in Plants

In Plants

  • Leaves have evolved multiple times - see Evolutionary history of plants. They have evolved not only in land plants, but also in various algae, like kelp.
  • Prickles, thorns and spines are all modified plant tissues that have evolved to prevent or limit herbivory, these structures have evolved independently a number of times.
  • Stimulant toxins: Plants which are only distantly related to each other, such as coffee and tea, produce caffeine to deter predators.
  • The aerial rootlets found in ivy (Hedera) are similar to those of the climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) and some other vines. These rootlets are not derived from a common ancestor but have the same function of clinging to whatever support is available.
  • Flowering plants (Delphinium, Aerangis, Tropaeolum and others) from different regions form tube-like spur which contains nectar (that's why insect from one place sometimes can feed on plant from other which has such structure like the flower which is the traditional source of food for the animal).
  • Both some dicots (Anemone) and monocots (Trillium) in inhospitable environments are able to form underground organs such as corms, bulbs and rhizomes for reserving of nutrition and water till the conditions become better.
  • Insectivorous plants: Nitrogen-deficient plants have in at least 7 distinct times become insectivorous, like: flypaper trapssundew, spring traps-Venus fly trap, and pitcher traps in order to capture and digest insects to obtain scarce nitrogen.
  • Similar-looking rosette succulents have arisen separately among plants in the families Asphodelaceae (formerly Liliaceae) and Crassulaceae.
  • The Orchids, the Birthwort family and Stylidiaceae have evolved independently the specific organ known as gynostemium, more popular as column.
  • The Euphorbia of deserts in Africa and southern Asia, and the Cactaceae of the New World deserts have similar modifications (see picture below for one of many possible examples).
  • Sunflower: some types of Sunflower and Pericallis are due to convergent evolution.
  • C4 photosynthesis is estimated to have evolved over 60 times within plants. C4 plants use a different metabolic pathway to capture carbon dioxide but also have differences in leaf anatomy and cell biology compared to most other plants.
  • Euphorbia obesa

  • Astrophytum asterias

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