WILDLIFE HOME
PLANTS HOME
OBL HOME
FLOWERING PLANTS 1

 

     Although flowering plants were the last of the major groups of plants to evolve first appearing in the middle of the Mesozoic.  One species of Archaefructus (A. sinensis pictured below) was found which was 125 million years old—the oldest flowering plant known.  It was a small plant, perhaps living in aquatic environments.  It lacked sepals and petals, having flowers consisting only of reproductive structures. 

ARCHAEFURCTUS

     The number of flowering plant species alive today is estimated between 200,000 and 250,000.  Modern flowering plants are classified into two major groups: the monocots (50,000 species of irises, orchids, and grasses) and the dicots (which represent the majority of flowering plants). 

     Some flowering plants are annuals, surviving one year only.  Annual plants have the advantage of being able to grow in unpredictable environments.  Others are biennials which reproduce in their second year before they die.  Often the plant produces only a rosette of leaves in the first year and not a tall stem which bears the flowers. Anne’s lace (the white flower below) is an example of this. 

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE

     Many flowering plants are perennials which do not have such short limits on their lifespans.  Most of the trees in our area are flowering plants. 

 

Flowering plants come in a variety of sizes and stem types.  Many flowering plants are short, such as black medick.

BLACK MEDICK

They may be tall as in joe-pye-weed.

JOE PYE WEED

They can possess arching/creeping stems such as blackberries.

BLACKBERRY

They can form vines such as virgin’s bower...

VIRGIN'S BOWER

and wild grape.

GRAPE

They can grow as bushes such as honeysuckle

HONEYSUCKLE

and mountain laurel.

MOUNTAIN LAUREL

Many are trees (as in the magnolia below).

MAGNOLIA

While most plants depend on photosynthesis to obtain energy from sunlight, there are a few which are decomposers, such as Indian pipe.

INDIAN PIPE

Flowers very in size, shape, and color.  Since animals that pollinate flowers include small and large animals, there are a diversity of flower sizes.  Some flowers are small, like bluets,

BLUET

bedstraw,

BEDSTRAW

and forget-me-nots.

 forget-me-nots

Other flowers are large, such as lilies,

DAY LILY

and sunflowers.sunflowers
GO TO FLOWERING PLANTS 2