Flowering Plants

According to a University of Florida professor, there are approximately 400,000 species of flowering plants, and they have been in existence for at least 130 million years.

Charles Darwin wrote about the “abominable mystery” of plant evolution – the diversification of flowering plants into five major lineages. In November 2007, the University of Florida and the University of Texas at Austin wrote about the two largest groups: monocots, which include grasses, and eudicots, which include sunflowers and tomatoes. The report found that the two groups have more in common than previously determined.

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Flowering plants, also called angiosperms, are the most widely spread of land plants. The flower contains seeds, which may lead directly to the production of fruit. Flowering plants occupy every habitat on Earth except extreme environments such as the highest mountaintops, the regions immediately surrounding both poles and the deepest oceans. They can be small herbs, parasitic plants, shrubs, vines or giant trees. There is a great deal of diversity. Furthermore, flowering plants are crucial for human existence – for their crops, their clothing fibers, their medicine and their natural timber.

Flowering plants include the following groups:
. Amborellaceae
. Nymphaeaceae
. Austrobaileyales
. Ceratophyllaceae
. Chloranthaceae
. Magnoliids
. Monocots

Eudicots are the largest group, at three-fourths the size of species. Monocots include these species: Orchidaceae (the orchid family), Poaceae (grass), Cyperaceae (sedge) and Araceae (aroid). Dicots include these species: Asteraceae (daisy), Fabaceae (pea) and Lamiaceae (mint).

Flowering plants take up roughly 90 percent of the plant kingdom. Many tropical species have yet to be named.

The oldest flowering plant fossil dates back 132 million years ago!

For millions and millions of years, flowering plants have been a gift to our planet – a sustainable source for life and for humans. They feed us, they clothe us, they shelter us and they beautify our homes, our gardens, our places of worship, and where we work and where we play. They are a mystery, as Darwin said, but a beautiful mystery that we can all experience year-round as a blessing. Flowering plants come in all shapes, sizes, colors, scents or non-scents.

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