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Tree - History Of Taxonomy

pine plants pinus structures

Carl von Linné of Sweden began the modern study of taxonomy in the mid-1700s. He classified trees and other plants according to the morphology of their reproductive structures, such as the flowers and fruits of Angiosperms, and the cones of Gymnosperms. Many religious leaders of his time considered it immoral to study the reproductive structures of plants. However, modern taxonomists still rely upon plants' reproductive structures for conclusive identification of species.

Carl Von Linné also advocated that all scientists refer to trees and other organisms by a Latinized name. He even Latinized his own name to Carolus Linneaus. Modern biologists continue to follow this convention. Thus, the tree which Americans call the white pine is known to biologists throughout the world as Pinus strobus, where "Pinus" is the pine genus and "strobus" is the specific epithet. There are about 90 other species of pine in the world, including red pine (Pinus resinosa), sugar pine (P. lambertiana), and pitch pine (P. rigida). Charles Darwin's studies of evolution in the mid-1800s led taxonomists to group organisms hierarchically, according to their evolutionary relationships. For example, the pines (genus, Pinus), spruces (genus, Picea), and about seven other genera are grouped together in the family Pinaceae, because they are evolutionarily related. In turn, the Pineaceae and about six other families are grouped together in the order Coniferales (the conifers, or cone-bearing plants) because they are evolutionarily related.

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