AlgaeViridiplantae, aka green plants, are thought to have originated 700-1500 million years ago and may comprise as many as 500,000 species.1)

Over the past two decades, molecular phylogenetic data have allowed evaluations of hypotheses on the evolution of green algae based on vegetative morphological and ultrastructural characters.2)

Our understanding of plant relationships has been transformed by the use of molecular data to reconstruct phylogenies, and I thought it would be fun being able to associate those new insights when I am working or just strolling around in gardens in Brittany.

And, just because some aspect of an organism is dignified by a {!sesquipedalian term:A word that's very long and multisyllabic. For example, the word sesquipedalian is sesquipedalian.}}, this by no means signifies that it refers to an interesting part of “reality”. As Hesse noted in 2009, Nature itself neither needs categories nor has any knowledge of them, and, categories are artificial and always delimited by an individual or collective convention. Humans make and define botanical terms, and we use them to facilitate communication, although all too often we take them to be “real”, and they come to be as much an impediment to our understanding as anything else.

Viridiplantae are thought to belong to a larger clade called Archaeplastida or Primoplantae, which supposedly belongs to the even larger (and older) clade of Eukaryotes3). And the story goes that some time between 1,200 to 725 million years ago the Viridiplantae clade split into two clades, the Chlorophytes and Streptophytes


From algae to angiosperms–inferring the phylogeny of green plants (Viridiplantae) from 360 plastid genomes; Brad R Ruhfel, Matthew A Gitzendanner, Pamela S Soltis, Douglas E Soltis and J Gordon Burleigh, BMC Evolutionary Biology 201414:23 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-14-23
Green algae and the origin of land plants; Louise A. Lewis and Richard M. McCourt, Am. J. Bot. October 2004 vol. 91 no. 10 1535-1556, doi: 10.3732/ajb.91.10.1535
Eukaryota, Organisms with nucleated cells; Patrick Keeling, Brian S. Leander, and Alastair Simpson; Tree of Life