Billions of years ago there was no flowering plants (or angiosperms) on earth says experts. It happened over the last 140 million years. Now we have 300,000 or so known species that are currently growing around us.
For coming up with the conclusion, researchers assembled the collection of angiosperm fossil records, and went through hundreds of years of data and translating documents from a variety of languages. Earlier studies of this type used only 30 to 60 fossils. For the study researchers took 435 flowering plant families in all. Lineages started to emerge around 100 to 90 million years ago. The stem and crown ages for angiosperm families were estimated and it showed a difference of 37 to 56 million years between family origins and the beginning of their diversification into the species we see today. Experts believe that this study will help in figuring out how to best conserve hundreds of species of plants for the future.
The research was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.