Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Plant Variation and Evolution

4th Edition

AUD$74.95 inc GST

  • Date Published: June 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107602229

AUD$ 74.95 inc GST

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

Please email to enquire about an inspection copy of this book

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • We are in the midst of a biological revolution. Molecular tools are now providing new means of critically testing hypotheses and models of microevolution in populations of wild, cultivated, weedy and feral plants. They are also offering the opportunity for significant progress in the investigation of long-term evolution of flowering plants, as part of molecular phylogenetic studies of the Tree of Life. This long-awaited fourth edition, fully revised by David Briggs, reflects new insights provided by molecular investigations and advances in computer science. Briggs considers the implications of these for our understanding of the evolution of flowering plants, as well as the potential for future advances. Numerous new sections on important topics such as the evolutionary impact of human activities, taxonomic challenges, gene flow and distribution, hybridisation, speciation and extinction, conservation and the molecular genetic basis of breeding systems will ensure that this remains a classic text for both undergraduate and graduate students in the field.

    • This is a new edition of a classic text on plant evolution, fully revised to reflect the enormous advances that have been made over the last two decades
    • Examines our current understanding of plant evolution in its historical context, while presenting in detail the new insights that have been provided by molecular investigations and advances in computer science
    • Explores the challenges and opportunities offered by future research, summarising for the reader a variety of perspectives on a number of controversial issues in evolution, taxonomy, phylogenetics, conservation and climate change
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of previous edition: '… one of the classics of plant evolutionary biology … Briggs and Walters has mentored students for over four decades and is as balanced and relevant today as it was in 1969 when the first edition was released.' Tan Bao, Plant Science Bulletin

    'This has been one of my favourite books for a very long time and I still have my cherished, if tattered, copy of the first edition of 1969. The book has grown with the science it describes, but it remains true to the original aim with thoughtful explanations and clear writing. Its greatest gift to the readers is the understanding it provides of how scientific knowledge develops through observation, experiment, analysis and the hard work of insight. The combination of the history of the investigation of plant variation and evolution and up-to-date results and interpretation is extremely valuable. It has my highest recommendation.' Mark Dale, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

    'For several generations of plant ecologists and evolutionary biologists, Briggs and Walters' Plant Variation and Evolution has been a standard textbook because of the clarity of its writing style and its panoramic coverage of the core concepts and challenges of the field. Almost fifty years after the publication of the 1st edition, David Briggs updates this classic with a 4th edition for another generation of biologists. Significant amounts of both revised and new content integrate advances in molecular and analytical tools that have changed our ability to address basic evolutionary questions and to imagine new ones. This edition continues the tradition of explaining ideas succinctly while generously referencing the primary scientific literature. The result is the rare kind of book that is accessible to anyone curious, but also serves as an essential reference in the field.' Tan Bao, University of Alberta, Canada

    'Briggs and Walters' doesn't actually need much more of a title. The conjunction of these two names is now virtually synonymous with 'plant variation and evolution,' a topic of study that is as deep - and rich - an area of inquiry as any in the biological sciences. Indeed, in this latest edition of a benchmark scientific work,we hear echoes of the voices of critical figures such as Charles Darwin, Gregory Mendel, as well as George Ledyard Stebbins, whose own synthetic Variation and Evolution in Plants written in 1950 sets the historical backdrop to this great work of synthesis intended for the twenty-first century reader.' Betty Smocovitis, University of Florida

    'Briggs and Walters' book, has been important textbook for any student of plants and genetics for over 40 years. For many people, and I include myself in this, this textbook has been an important part of our growth as a plant geneticist. I was using the second addition as an undergraduate, then the third edition was heavily cited in my thesis for graduate school, now this fourth edition will undoubtedly become core reading for the undergraduates in my courses and my graduate students. Despite the changes that have occurred in the field of genetics over the lifetime of the editions of these textbooks, Briggs and Walters' have always managed to keep the text up to date and relevant. This fourth edition has expanded to include many of the latest research in plant genetics which will ensure it continues to serve a new audience, and continue the legacy of this important textbook for decades more.' Jeremie Fant, Chicago Botanic Garden

    'This is a marvellously instructive book which provides a richness of examples on plant evolution and variation. Brought up to date and giving copious insights to the latest molecular biological and analytical techniques, this edition is par excellence the textbook in the field.' Des Thompson, Scottish Natural Heritage

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Edition: 4th Edition
    • Date Published: June 2016
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107602229
    • length: 600 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 189 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1.25kg
    • contains: 108 b/w illus. 36 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Note on names of plants
    List of abbreviations
    1. Investigating plant variation and evolution
    2. From Ray to Darwin
    3. Early work on biometry
    4. Early work on the basis of individual variation
    5. Post-Darwinian ideas about evolution
    6. DNA: towards an understanding of heredity and molecular evolution
    7. Breeding systems
    8. Infraspecific variation and the ecotype concept
    9. Pattern and process in plant populations
    10. Pattern and process: factors interacting with natural selection
    11. Populations: origins and extinctions
    12. Species and speciation: concepts and models
    13. Allopatric speciation and hybridisation
    14. Abrupt speciation by polyploidy
    15. The species concept
    16. Flowering plant evolution: advances, challenges and prospects
    17. Historical biogeography
    18. The evolutionary impact of human activities
    19. The taxonomic challenge ahead
    20. Conservation: from protection to restoration and beyond

  • Authors

    David Briggs, University of Cambridge
    David Briggs is Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge. He has a lifelong interest in evolution, genetics, conservation and taxonomy. He is also the author of Plant Microevolution and Conservation in Human-influenced Ecosystems (Cambridge, 2009), which won the British Ecological Society's 2011 Marsh Book of the Year award.

    S. Max Walters, University of Cambridge Botanic Garden
    Stuart Max Walters (1920–2005) - a former Fellow of King's College, Cambridge - was a renowned taxonomist and conservationist and author/editor of major works on the taxonomy and distribution of European plants, including Atlas of the British Flora, Flora Europaea and The European Garden Flora. He was Director of the University of Cambridge Botanic Garden from 1973 until his retirement in 1983.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.