Charles Darwin was puzzled as to why all those flowers suddenly sprang into being—something like 300,000 species all told. He couldn’t figure it out, alongside all the other things he did figure it out. Now, a genome-mapping project of the oldest still-existing flower, the amborella, has cast some light onto the mystery.
Amborella is a link with its past, a genus, family and order all unto itself. This interesting flower has tepals—a cross between sepals and petals. This, of course, is a bit like all those “missing links” when it comes to tracing back to the ancient human past. Amborella, which grows natively in 18 different locations, has been the subject of a newly published study in Science.
About 200 million years ago, the scientists think, a genome “doubling” occurred which allowed the plant to flower. This, in turn, paved the way for other species to flower. This happening, in the Cretaceous period, answers Darwin’s “abominable mystery” as to why flowers suddenly started proliferating.
Dissecting the DNA of a particular plant is not something Darwin could ever have dreamed of. But the more we know, the more we’re amazed by our biological past. Who can imagine a world without flowers, without color and meadows and bees? Without roses for romance or delightful bouquets to say thank-you and “I love you?”
Of the 300,000 types of flowers now in the world, daFlores picks the best and the brightest to bring to you and your loved ones. It’s humbling to know that our business would never have been born if those particular mutations had never occurred. Flowers have been part of our own emotional, if not genetic, makeup, for a very long time. We hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the history of flowers and how they came to be.