Mihai Tomescu Ph.D.

Professor - Botany

Mihai Tomescu Ph.D.
(707) 826-3229
SciA 360

Mihai grew up in Romania, where he went to college in Bucharest for a geology degree, then moved to the US for his doctoral degree in plant biology.

Specialty Area

Plant evo-devo at the intersection of comparative morphology, developmental anatomy, and the fossil record


MSc (1993) University of Bucharest, Romania
PhD (2004) Ohio University (Athens)

Courses Taught

BOT 105 General Botany
BOT 322/522 Developmental Plant Anatomy
BOT 372/572 Evolutionary Plant Morphology
BOT 521 Paleobotany


My lab group includes undergraduate and graduate students who seek a deeper understanding of plant biology and work to develop expertise in scientific research and the dissemination of its results. We study the plant fossil record, comparative morphology, and developmental anatomy to understand the evolution of plant form, patterns of plant diversity through time and plant phylogeny.

View Mihai's research page


  • Tomescu AMF, Rothwell GW 2022 Fossils and plant evolution: structural fingerprints and modularity in the evo-devo paradigm. EvoDevo doi: 10.1186/s13227-022-00192-7
  • Lalica MAK, Tomescu AMF 2022 The early fossil record of glomeromycete fungi: new data on spores associated with early tracheophytes in the Lower Devonian (Emsian; c. 400 ma) of Gaspé (Quebec, Canada). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 298: 104590
  • Tomescu AMF 2022 Mysteries of the bryophyte-tracheophyte transition revealed: enter the eophytes. New Phytologist 233: 1018-1021
  • Durieux T, Lopez MA, Bronson AW, Tomescu AMF 2021 A new phylogeny of the cladoxylopsid plexus - contribution of an early cladoxylopsid from the Lower Devonian (Emsian) of Quebec. American Journal of Botany 108: 2066-2095
  • Toledo S, Bippus AC, Atkinson BA, Bronson AW, Tomescu AMF 2021 Taxon sampling and alternative hypotheses of relationships in the euphyllophyte plexus that gave rise to seed plants: insights from an Early Devonian radiatopsid. New Phytologist 232: 914-927
  • Tomescu AMF 2021 The stele – a developmental perspective on the diversity and evolution of primary vascular architecture. Biological Reviews 96: 1263-1283
  • Bippus AC, Escapa IH, Wilf P, Tomescu AMF 2019 Fossil fern rhizomes as a model system for biotic interactions across geologic time: evidence from Patagonia. PeerJ 7: e8244
  • Decombeix A-L, Boura A, Tomescu AMF 2019 Plant hydraulic architecture through time: lessons and questions on the evolution of vascular systems. IAWA Journal 40: 387-420
  • Tomescu AMF, Groover AT 2019 Mosaic modularity: an updated perspective and research agenda for the evolution of vascular cambial growth. New Phytologist 222: 1719-1735
  • Toledo S, Bippus AC, Tomescu AMF 2018 Buried deep behind the veil of extinction: euphyllophyte relationships at the base of the spermatophyte clade. American Journal of Botany 105: 1264-1285
  • Savoretti A, Bippus AC, Stockey RA, Rothwell GW, Tomescu AMF 2018 Grimmiaceae in the Early Cretaceous: Tricarinella crassiphylla gen. et sp. nov. and the value of anatomically-preserved bryophytes. Annals of Botany 121: 1275-1286
  • Matsunaga KKS, Cullen NP, Tomescu AMF 2017 Vascularization of the Selaginella rhizophore – anatomical fingerprints of polar auxin transport with implications for the deep fossil record. New Phytologist 216: 419-428
  • Tomescu AMF, Escapa IH, Rothwell GW, Elgorriaga A, Cuneo NR 2017 Developmental programs in the evolution of Equisetum reproductive morphology – a hierarchical modularity hypothesis. Annals of Botany 119: 489-505
  • Tomescu AMF 2016 Development: paleobotany at the high table of evo-devo. Current Biology 26: R505-508
  • Tomescu AMF, Wyatt SE, Hasebe M, Rothwell GW 2014 Early evolution of the vascular plant body plan – the missing mechanisms. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 17: 126-136