First Flower

Violet_Z6(6a)April 21, 2007


NOVA presents the search for the first flowering plant.

* recounts how one scientist discovered what might be the first flowering plant fossil, Archaefructus liaoningensis.

* follows the search for evidence of the first flowering plants in the Hengdaun Mountains of China, the most biodiverse temperate forest in the world.

* states that mosses, pines, and firs dominated the Earth for 300 million years until flowering plants became prevalentÂbut how and when this change occurred is a mystery.

* shows how flowering plants flower and produce the new generationÂfruitÂthat allows the plant to adapt to a different set of circumstances.

* shows how Archaefructus' separate pollen-producing organs and female organs may have evolved to be joined.

* recounts the journey and discoveries of early 1900s botanist Ernest H. Wilson, who collected more than 20,000 plant specimens from China.

* suggests a hypothesis for how the first flower may have evolved.

* introduces a botanist who disagrees that Archaefructus is the first flowering plant and describes how her technique of sifting through ancient sediments has revealed a 120-million-year-old flower.

* explains another botanist's method of analyzing leaf vein patterns and pollen structure to reveal clues to plant evolution, and notes that the first pollen shows up on rocks of the Cretaceous period 134 million years ago.

* reports on radioactive decay measurements of ash beds surrounding the Archaefructus fossil site that date it to the early Cretaceous rather than the Jurassic Period it was first believed to have evolved in.

* describes the original method used to organize the plant family treeÂby comparing features of plantsÂand explains how plant DNA analysis has rewritten that record.

* reports that DNA analysis identifies Amborella trichopodaÂa plant only found on New CaledoniaÂas the oldest living flowering plant.

* states that Archaefructus appears older than Amborella based on pollen, leaf, and flower analysis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Check Your Local Listings for Air Date This Weekend

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oakleif(z6 AR)

Violet, it comes on here at 1:00 am. already got it programmed.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 10:24PM
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Coming up at 11:00 am for me here...

Can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 11:21AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Mine came on at 11:00 pm instead of 1:00.
I enjoyed it lots. I never cease to be amazed of the beautiful scenery in China and Japan and the flowers were beautiful. The native people have managed to build great civilizations yet maintain a balance with nature that no one else have managed. The houses seem to flow into the surrounding nature scapes. I'm afraid the western influence has been coming in and ruining the balance though.

Anyway i enjoyed the science too.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 3:54AM
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In case you missed the program, here is a link to an article from Bellarmine U. that covers the basic information presented on PBS.

Here is a link that might be useful: In Search of the First Flower

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 6:20PM
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I thought it was so funny when the American was naming every plant via scientific name he could see. Better than Christmas for him! Really gives an idea of our tiny existence in our time on this planet. Fascinating that such diversity all started soooooo long ago from one plant.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 7:17PM
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Are you referring to Dan Hinkley, Plant Hunter, Author, and fmr owner of Heronswood Nursery, Kingston, WA ?
The NOVA link below has an interview with him, plus some videos and stills taken in China during the filming of the documentary.

Here is a link that might be useful: NOVA - 21st Century Plant Hunter

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 9:17PM
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Not sure, I'd have to rewind and watch again to pay attention to the name. I'll check it out... Thanks!

..... Yes, that's him!

Wouldn't he be a blast to travel with and learn about plants?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:30AM
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I read a wonderful book last winter called BEAUTIFUL MADNESS by James Dodson. Dodson is a golf writer who developed an interest in gardening and wanted to learn all about it. He was planning to take classes in horticulture but was advised that he'd get a more thorough education if he traveled around and talked to gardeners and toured their gardens. This book is based on that and I really enjoyed it. One of his trips was a trip to Africa with Dan Hinckley and others to look for new and unusual plants. These guys are a little crazy and think nothing of hanging off cliffs or climbing mountains just for a glimpse of a beautiful plant. He also visited a lot of gardens along the east coast including the annual Philidelphia Flower Show and Tony Avent's, the owner of Plant Delights, gardens. If any of you have time to read during this busiest of all garden seasons I highly recommend this book.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 9:50AM
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Will have to keep this in mind for the winter... too bad I'm more into vegetables and edible ornamentals!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 11:36AM
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oakleif(z6 AR)

Violet, When that guy kept calling off the names of flowers. I kept thinking, i want to see, i
want to see. I guess the show should have been longer so i could have seen all the flowers.LOL

Peaceofmind, I'll keep an eye out for that book.
I dearly love crazy scientists. Think it ought to be a requirement for all scientists, the good kind of crazy.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2007 at 2:05AM
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