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View Diary: Views from an Azalea Forest (51 comments)

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  •  What I find amazing (4+ / 0-)
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    DuzT, frosti, ivorybill, bjedward

    is the kid in the group that made up for lost time, the Asteraceae. What I mean is that angiosperms appeared somewhere around 250 or perhaps as late as 192 million years ago. The great angiosperm radiation was about 100 million years ago which is at least 50 million prior to the appearance of the Asteraceae but now it is perhaps the dominant species of flowering plants on earth.

    They had to be doing something right to get over on so many that had such a big head start.

    I like to think of the Asteraceae as the smart family. The way I see it, the actual aster is the smartest in the bunch. Oh there are show offs in the bunch, sunflowers, chrysanthemum and daises. But those little tiny asters, they just hang out watching all the other flowers busting their chops trying to attract pollinators under stiff competition. Then, come autumn, when everything else is done the asters get to be the only game in town. They don't have to waste any energy on big showy flowers, just tiny petals to attract insects on their last chance power drive and those tiny petals surround powerhouse seed factories.

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