The evolutionary pathways that produced the flowering plants (the Angiosperms) have been studied for at least 140 years.
The flowering plants appear very suddenly (geologically speaking) in the fossil record, at around 100 million years ago. Before that, all known plants were Gymnosperms, which had no flowers as such, and did not rely on pollinating insects (etc.)
Charles Darwin characterised the sudden appearance like this :
“The rapid development as far as we can judge of all the higher plants within recent geological times is an abominable mystery.”
A 2021 paper in the American Journal of Botany describes the history of Darwin's investigations.
To summarise, allthough recent progress in fossil examinations has partly clarified the evolution (the current consensus is that the flowering and non-flowering plants had a common ancestor) much of the detail is still unknown.
Ideas for new topics, and suggested additions / corrections for old ones, are always welcome.
If you have skills or interests in a particular field, and have suggestions for Wikenigma, get in touch !
Or, if you'd like to become a regular contributor . . . request a login password. Registered users can edit the entire content of the site, and also create new pages.
( The 'Notes for contributors' section in the main menu has further information and guidelines etc.)