First Flower
Flowers Modern and Ancient
Launch interactive

Flowers Modern & Ancient

Lacking dazzling petals and spectacular foliage, Archaefructus liaoningensis would never have made the cover of Better Homes & Gardens or Martha Stewart Living. But in 1998, this ancient plant discovered in the fossil beds of Liaoning Province in northeastern China graced the cover of Science and made headlines worldwide. It was heralded as the earliest known angiosperm, or flowering plant, and it is now thought to be roughly 125 million years old. In the following video clips, fossil images, and drawings, explore what makes Archaefructus a flowering plant and how it compares to more familiar showstoppers of today.—Susan K. Lewis

First Flower Home | Send Feedback | Image Credits | Support NOVA

© | Created March 2007