Flowers Modern & Ancient

  • By Susan K. Lewis
  • Posted 04.17.07
  • NOVA

Archaefructus liaoningensis would never have made the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. But this 125 million-year-old plant, discovered in fossil beds in northeastern China, did grace the cover of Science. It's heralded as the earliest known angiosperm, or flowering plant. Here, explore what makes Archaefructus a flowering plant and how it compares to blooming beauties of today.

Launch Interactive

How does a 125 million-year-old angiosperm measure up to a lily of today?


Special Thanks

David Dilcher, University of Florida

Image Credits

(modern lily)
Doug Hamilton © NOVA/WGBH Educational Foundation
(Archaefructus liaoningensis)
Courtesy of Doug Hamilton
(Archaefructus sinensis)
Courtesy David Dilcher and Sun Ge
(reconstruction of A. sinensis)
Courtesy K. Simons and D. Dilcher
(fossil of A. liaoningensis)
Courtesy Doug Hamilton

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