Review: Reshaping plant biology: Qualitative and quantitative descriptors for plant morphology

As automated phenotyping platforms are becoming prevalent, scientists increasingly need to be familiar with tools used to describe and model form and growth. Balduzzi et al. provide an overview of the key concepts used in quantifying and describing plant morphology. They point to the need for a common language that can be used seamlessly by  biologists and mathematicians, and begin by defining concepts such as shape, geometry and topology as well as the tools used in applying these concepts to plant morphology, as shown for leaf growth and root system architecture. The authors also show how organ morphology can be traced back to changes in cell growth and expansion, using sepals and hypocotyls as illustrations of this approach. This is a good article to help non-specialists and students appreciate the application of mathematical concepts to plant morphology. Front. Plant Sci. 10.3389/fpls.2017.00117