By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

When did the first flowers evolve?

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Plants < Evolution < Science

The First Angiosperms

The first flowers evolved around 130 million years ago, during the Cretaceous period. These early blooms were likely small, simple, and dull-colored, with modified leaves called tepals instead of petals. They didn’t need to attract pollinators, relying on wind for pollen dispersal. Imagine a field of green, brown, and beige hues, with tiny, inconspicuous flowers that blended in with their surroundings. These humble beginnings paved the way for the stunning diversity of flowers we see today, from vibrant roses to delicate orchids. Despite their simplicity, these ancient flowers marked a crucial milestone in the evolution of life on Earth, allowing plants to reproduce more efficiently and setting the stage for the breathtaking beauty and complexity of modern flora.

Recent molecular analyses suggest that the origins of flowering plants might extend even further back, possibly between 149 and 256 million years ago. For a visual look at evolution, take the deep dive and visit The Evolution Timeline.

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June 16, 2024 Edition
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