The mechanism represents a unique and stunningly brilliant solution to the problem of raising water to the top of large trees.
Clearly, unless water can be drawn several meters up the conduits in their tree trunks, large woody trees would be impossible.
Without lignin, there would be no woody plants, no wood, no coal, no charcoal, no fire, no pottery, and certainly no iron or metallurgy.
There is another aspect of the Earth’s environment that is absolutely crucial in allowing the utilization of fire for metal-based technologies.
If the conductivity of copper were ten times less, wires would have to be ten times the cross-sectional area to provide the same conductivity.