Bloom millions of years old was 'parent' of all plants today
A 140 million-year-old bloom bearing a striking resemblance to a water lily was the mother (and father) of every flowering plant living today, scientists believe.
No fossils of the flower have been found, but scientists inferred what it must have looked like after analysing a mass of botanical data.
The first angiosperm, or flowering plant, had a simple arrangement of layered petals and contained both male and female reproductive organs, the study found.
Flowering plants evolved relatively recently during the age of the dinosaurs, brightening up a drab planet previously dominated by ferns, horsetails and mosses.
Their appearance had a dramatic effect on ecosystems and the climate and drove the rapid evolution of pollinating insects. Today, angiosperms represent 90pc of all land plants and are vital to the survival of terrestrial life.