Ferns in their natural habitat

Humans, as we are now, have been on Earth for about ten thousand years. But when our ancestors emerged, between 5 and 7 million years ago, the planet was colonized by a great variety of animals and plants.

We do not usually think about it much, but if it had not been for them, for plant beings, life as we know it would not exist, hence it is so important to know them in order to protect them. And that is precisely what we are going to do next: get to know them a little more, discovering when the first plants appeared. You sign up?

When did the first plants appear?

Microalgae seen through the microscope

Microalgae seen through the microscope

Although today there are plants both in the oceans and in the earth’s crust, approximately 4.000 million years ago the situation was very different. The plant beings that exist today evolved from molecules from which chlorophyll arose, thanks to which they could transform the sun’s energy into food (mainly sugars) from water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Thus, the first cells were able to thicken their membrane, which helped them to accumulate food reserves. Shortly after, the first microalgae emerged, from which all the plants that inhabited and inhabit the Earth would descend over a period of millions of years.

What is the evolutionary history of plants?

Cooksonia plant illustrationCooksonia plant illustration


As an outline, we tell you the evolutionary history of plant beings:

  • 3.500 billion years ago: mosses emerge, which were the first plants to leave the marine environment.
  • About 470 million years ago: the first vascular plant appears, known as Cooksonia. It had no leaves or flowers, but its stems could photosynthesize.
  • About 370 billion years ago: the first plants appear gymnosperms, one of the first being the Elkinsia polymorpha.
    • 300 million years ago: conifers appear.
    • 270 million years ago: Cycas and Ginkgo make their appearance.
    • 200 million years ago: ferns begin to evolve.
  • About 150 billion years ago: showy flowering plants appear, angiosperms.

Pink cosmos flower

pink cosmos flower

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