Why do plants silicify?

Félix de Tombeur (Lead / Corresponding author), John A. Raven, Aurèle Toussaint, Hans Lambers, Julia Cooke, Sue E. Hartley, Scott N. Johnson, Sylvain Coq, Ofir Katz, Jörg Schaller, Cyrille Violle

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite seminal papers that stress the significance of silicon (Si) in plant biology and ecology, most studies focus on manipulations of Si supply and mitigation of stresses. The ecological significance of Si varies with different levels of biological organization, and remains hard to capture. We show that the costs of Si accumulation are greater than is currently acknowledged, and discuss potential links between Si and fitness components (growth, survival, reproduction), environment, and ecosystem functioning. We suggest that Si is more important in trait-based ecology than is currently recognized. Si potentially plays a significant role in many aspects of plant ecology, but knowledge gaps prevent us from understanding its possible contribution to the success of some clades and the expansion of specific biomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)275-288
    Number of pages14
    JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
    Issue number3
    Early online date23 Nov 2022
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


    • costs
    • ecosystem functioning
    • fitness
    • functional trait
    • grassland
    • silicification

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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