Origin of angiosperms and the puzzle of the Jurassic gap

Hong Tao Li, Ting Shuang Yi, Lian Ming Gao, Peng Fei Ma, Ting Zhang, Jun Bo Yang, Matthew A. Gitzendanner, Peter W. Fritsch, Jie Cai, Yang Luo, Hong Wang, Michelle van der Bank, Shu Dong Zhang, Qing Feng Wang, Jian Wang, Zhi Rong Zhang, Chao Nan Fu, Jing Yang, Peter M. Hollingsworth, Mark W. ChaseDouglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, De Zhu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

454 Citations (Scopus)


Angiosperms are by far the most species-rich clade of land plants, but their origin and early evolutionary history remain poorly understood. We reconstructed angiosperm phylogeny based on 80 genes from 2,881 plastid genomes representing 85% of extant families and all orders. With a well-resolved plastid tree and 62 fossil calibrations, we dated the origin of the crown angiosperms to the Upper Triassic, with major angiosperm radiations occurring in the Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous. This estimated crown age is substantially earlier than that of unequivocal angiosperm fossils, and the difference is here termed the ‘Jurassic angiosperm gap’. Our time-calibrated plastid phylogenomic tree provides a highly relevant framework for future comparative studies of flowering plant evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-470
Number of pages10
JournalNature Plants
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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