CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUS LUNAU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Plant evolutionary history. Artwork showing the stages in the evolution of plants during the history of the Earth. Around 1200 million years ago the Earth's land areas were barren, though it is thought that algae began to establish themselves on coasts and shorelines as well as in the water (far left). The first true land plants (centre left) appeared around 450 million years ago. At centre right, ferns and early trees have appeared and around 1700 plant species existed. At far right are plants that exist today, including flowering plants and rainforest plants. The total number of plant species on Earth today is over 250,000.
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