• Question: What is the biggest unsolved mystery in botany?

    Asked by anon-360528 to Alison on 23 Mar 2023.
    • Photo: Alison Tidy

      Alison Tidy answered on 23 Mar 2023:

      There are lots of unsolved mysteries within botany, and we are working towards understanding them. Probably the biggest and most difficult to solve is the mystery of the evolution of flowering plants, known as Darwin’s abominable mystery of botany/plants. What is the exact evolutionary history of flowers, as they are in modern day. Early plants were algaes and ferns which reproduce using spores, and then flowering plants having pollen and ovules appear almost suddenly in the Early Cretaceous and there appears to be no continuous fossil evidence showing how flowers evolved. We are therefore unsure how flowering plants came into being, and what evolutionary steps were taken.