Flowers are one of man’s best friends, and certainly women too, but how did they change the world? How did they become the gift of choice for all occasions, whether anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day and other occasions?
Did you know that flowers first made their glorious appearance on Earth about 130 million years ago during the Cretaceous period? As soon as they burst on the scene they changed the way the world looked in all their glory. This is something amazing! If all Earth’s history were compressed into an hour, flowering plants would exist for only 90 seconds. About 100 million years ago they firmly laid their roots and were here to stay. They all of a sudden exploded into all sorts of different varieties that established the flowering plant families that we know and love today.
Today flowering plant species outnumber ferns and cone-bearing trees by 20 to 1, or conifers, which thrived for 200 million years before the first bloom appeared. Not only are flowers gorgeous, but they also act as a food source for not only us, but for animals too, giving them nourishment which is critical to our existence. As Walter Judd said, a botanist at the University of Florida, “If it weren’t for flowering plants, we humans wouldn’t be here.” Who would have thought that our precious blooms have had such an impact on the world?
Not only are they one of the best gifts that you can give someone, but they have come to rule the world when it comes to botany and agriculture too. Not only do we love the pleasure of seeing that bloom, but they inspire artists, poets and everyday people in search of a bit of inspiration, even the heady scent of flowers can touch your senses in a special way.
“Before flowering plants appeared,” says Dale Russell, a palaeontologist with North Carolina State University and the State Museum of Natural Sciences, “the world was like a Japanese garden; peaceful, sombre, green; inhabited by fish, turtles, and dragonflies. After flowering plants, the world became like an English garden, full of bright colour and variety, visited by butterflies and honeybees. Flowers of all shapes and colours bloomed among the greenery.”
Botanists call flowering plants angiosperms, from the Greek words for “vessel” and “seed.” Conifers for example produce their seeds in open cones whereas flowering plants enclose their seeds, tucked nice and snug.There are about 235,000 species of flowering plants, that’s a staggering amount.
Just when and how did the first flowering plants bloom and come to life? Charles Darwin deliberated over this question for some time and experts are still on the hunt for the elusive answer. In Asia,Australia, Europe, and North America in the 1990s some fossilised flowers were discovered. This gave us some important clues with regards to their history. A whole new set of tools were brought to the search in the field of genetics.Due to this, modern paleobotany has boomed just like the Cretaceous flower explosion itself.
Fossil hunters are on the hunt with shovels and microscopes in hand trying to trace plant families’ right back to their origins. These hunters will help us answer questions like what sorts of species flowers can be crossed with and what sorts of pollinators are effective.
The earliest flower was suspected to be the magnolia, but now it’s been dethroned by earlier fossils found from millions of years back.
At first conifers ruled the world, but our wonderful flowering species got in there, and first started to grow in volcanic regions and floodplains too. As they have a short lifespan, they live and seed quickly, which allowed them to evolve quicker, which may have helped the assortment of plant species that we see today. They pollinate through wind, but their best friends are insects that carry that pollen around and spread them out far and wide. Even dinosaurs helped as they stomped along the ground spreading seeds along their merry way.
But the question is whether our famous painter, van Gogh raised the almighty flower to an art form, or did the flower capture van Gogh’s imagination for his great works. Flowering plants have dominated more than just land; they’ve got deep roots in our hearts and minds too for their charm and beauty, which is why they are the gift of choice!
With those amazing feelings we get when receiving beautiful blooms, why not send a bunch today and see how your receiver reacts. You’ll certainly be the person of the week, or maybe even the month!