In Plant Life: A Brief History, Biologist Frederick Essig traces how familiar features of modern plants emerged over hundreds of millions of years of evolution. This chronological narrative explores the events that shaped the photosynthetic cells that were eventually able to survive on land. The book begins with the origin of photosynthesis and the rise of cyanobacteria, and concludes with the innovative growth forms of the monocots.
As different groups of photosynthetic organisms are introduced, the book emphasizes adaptations that enabled them to gain dominance in existing habitats and provides a broad view of why certain plant groups adapted successfully. Essig examines hypothetical scenarios regarding the evolution of flowering plants and tests them with every emerging discovery. Readers will acquire a deeper understanding of the diverse organisms humans depend upon for food, oxygen, medicine, building materials, and aesthetic pleasure.