Plant carpel origin theories?

Mon Oct 10 15:02:54 CDT 1994

Dear TAXACOM readers,

I tried this on the plant-taxonomy mailing list 2 weeks
ago, but got no reply whatsoever.  I hope for better luck
here.  (Plant-taxonomy is run via mailbase at;
to subscribe, send "join plant-taxonomy <Your Name>".)

I have run across a curious thing in the plant literature
from the first half of this century.

E. Saunders published a series of papers and a book about
an alternative theory of carpel morphology.  The number of
citations of this work seems very low, given the unsolved
question of the evolutionary origins of the carpel.  Also,
there are various pertinent references, by such authorities
as Eames and Cronquist, to authors "who shall not be cited"
(or even named).  Furthermore, Saunders and E.A.N. Arber
fought bitterly in print, and Arber is cited generously by
both Eames and Cronquist.

Whatever light you can shed on the science, the literature,
the history, and the personalities in question would be
*much* appreciated.

        Una Smith                       una.smith at

Dept. of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT  06520-8104  USA

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