The flowering plants (angiosperms), also known as Angiospermae Lindl. 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. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; they are fruiting plants, although more commonly referred to as flowering plants.
The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms around 245–202 MYA, and the first flowering plants known to exist are from 160 MYA. They diversified enormously during the Lower Cretaceous and became widespread around 120 MYA, but replaced conifers as the dominant trees only around 60–100 MYA. Flowering plants may have appeared as early the Triassic period, but they didn't become successful until the Cretaceous.
In Walking with... seriesEdit
This episode showed a fictional flowering species, Protoanthus, that was pollinated by wasps. It was based one some of the first real-life flowering plants of the Cretaceous.
This episode (filmed in South America), showed a butterfly feeding on flowers. As this episode commented, by now (65.5 MYA) some insects can only feed on flowers and some flowers can only be pollinated by insects.