flowering plants, also known as Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the
most diverse group of land plants. Angiosperms are seed-producing
plants like the gymnosperms and can be distinguished from the
gymnosperms by a series of synapomorphies (derived characteristics).
These characteristics include flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and
the production of fruits that contain the seeds.
The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from
gymnosperms around 245–202 million years ago, and the first flowering
plants known to exist are from 140 million years ago. They diversified
enormously during the Lower Cretaceous and became widespread around 100
million years ago, but replaced conifers as the dominant trees only
around 60-100 million years ago.
to the special item "Woodland
" to read the article on "Restoring natural vegetation
the articles on "Orchids of Protea Hill Farm". Observations
over 30 years.
An attempt by Australian botanists to
change the typification of Acacia
from an African to an
Australian species, which would mean that no African species would
retain the name Acacia
caused outrage amongst African botanists. It seemed we were headed for
a deadlock, reminiscent of the political impasses we have seen in
Zimbabwe, Kenya and Ivory Coast. Who gets the name is to be decided at
the 18th International Botanical Congress in Melbourne in July 2011.
The Raffia Palm
The raffia palm (Raphia farinifera
Hylander) is one of about 28 species of the genus Raphia, but is
probably the best known, having a widespread distribution in tropical
Africa and Madagascar.
It has the distinction of having the largest leaves in the plant
kingdom, the record measuring 19.8m long, with the petiole 3.96m (D.J.
Mabberley, The Plant-Book, 2nd Edition, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997).
A wetland species, it occurs in peat dambos and on banks of perennial
streams in frost-free zones. While it never stands in water, it grows
on banks and elevated areas, with most of the root system in the water,
but rooted into firm ground. The mature and juvenile palms can survive
relatively light burns, and fire, or more likely smoke, stimulates the
germination of the seeds.