The editors are pleased to publish this special ABN issue on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Royal Botanical Society of The Netherlands. Evolution has been one of the most challenging concepts since the middle of the last century. The jubilee symposium of the Society on ‘Plant and Evolution’, which was held at Nijmegen on 18 May 1995, was a good opportunity to evaluate the state of the art in a historical perspective. For that purpose, highly reputed scientists were invited by the Board of the Society. The editors of ABN are indebted to them for their willingness to prepare their papers for publication in our journal. Not only did they contribute to the celebration of the Society’s jubilee, but they have also produced a useful document for botanists everywhere. After the opening address of the President of the Society, five invited jubilee papers are presented. A number of satellite papers are also included, dealing with several subjects related to the central theme.