The angiosperms or flowering plants are all plants with flowers and fruit and are the most recently evolved of all plant groups. They are also the most diverse and abundant plants throughout the globe and have come to dominate many of the world’s forests. Angiosperms can be defined as vascular plants with seeds, fruit, and flowers for reproduction. The huge diversification of angiosperms during the Early Cretaceous is one of the greatest mysteries to plant biologists, more correctly called botanists.
Angiosperms have a unique relationship with animals that other plants do not. Many angiosperm species rely on the interaction between animals and their flowers for reproduction. As insects, birds or other animals move from one flower to another feeding on nectar, they commonly distribute pollen from flower to flower as they go which leads to plants being pollinated and seeds to be produced. Animals can also play a role in the dispersal of many angiosperm species by feeding on the fruit of the plant and carrying the seeds to new locations.
The eudicots are a hugely diverse and abundant group of angiosperm plants. They include over half of the species of all plants and are found in a huge variety of land-based habitats in almost all parts of the world.
The monocots are a group of over 50,000 plant species within the angiosperms. Monocotyledon means ‘one embryonic leaf’ and refers to the single leaf that monocot plants emerge from the soil with.
The basal angiosperms are a broad group of the most primitive flowering plants. They do not belong to either the monocots or eudicots but were for a long time lumped together with the eudicots into a well-known group called the dicots.
Flowers were an evolutionary development that allowed the plant kingdom to boom into a huge diversity of species. They were developed as an alternative method of reproduction and proved to be very successful.