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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: Chester, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: General Botany
Title: Identification of first flower on Earth
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

When was the first on Earth and who find it and what was the name of the flower. Also what part of the Earth was if find?

ANSWER:

We think you're asking the name of the earth's first flowering plant. If so, the answer is no one really knows. There are different camps in the scientific community disputing the lineage of flowering plants and the place of fossil finds in that lineage.

Many believe that an ancestor of a plant still living in New Caledonia, Amborella trichopoda, was the world's first flowering plant, arising perhaps 140-million years or so ago.

Another candidate is a relative of the fossil plant, Archaefructus sinensis, discovered in China by the scientist Sun Ge.

The search for identity of the world's first angiosperm is a challenge that many botanists find irresistable. To keep the challenge interesting, the fossil record and new genetic discoveries have a way of continually changing our "current" way of thinking So the book on the mystery of the first flower almost certainly has chapters yet to be written.

 

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