Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:


Reconfiguring Darwin’s abominable mystery

New evidence that a mid-Cretaceous fossil represents a modern angiosperm genus partly reinstates Darwin’s view of the fossil record.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Early angiosperm fossils from the mid-Cretaceous Dakota Formation.


  1. Shi, C. et al. Nat. Plants 8, 125–135 (2022).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Darwin, C. The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, 27, 1879 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019).

  3. Ball, J. Proc Royal Geographic. Soc. Month. Record. Geograph. 1, 564–589 (1879).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Lesquereux, L. Contributions to the Fossil Flora of the Western Territories, Part I. The Cretaceous Flora. (U.S. Geological Survey, 1874).

  5. Heer, O. Flora Fossilis Arctica III (P. A. Norstedt & Söner, 1874).

  6. Ward, L. F. Science 1, 337–346 (1895).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Seward, A. C. New Phytol. 2, 243 (1903).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Maryland Geological Survey. Lower Cretaceous 214–312 (Johns Hopkins Press, 1911).

  9. Harris, T. M. New Phytol. 32, 97–114 (1933).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Hughes, N. F. & Couper, R. A. Nature 181, 1482–1483 (1958).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Harris, T. M. Adv. Sci. 17, 207–213 (1960).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Dilcher, D. L. Bot. Rev. 40, 1–157 (1974).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Hughes, N. F. Taxon 12, 336–337 (1963).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hughes, N. F. Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. 71, 593–598 (1984).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Hickey, L. J. & Doyle, J. A. Bot. Rev. 43, 3–104 (1977).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Friis, E. M., Crane, P. R. & Pedersen, K. R. Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2011).

  17. Stockey, R. A., Graham, S. W. & Crane, P. R. Am. J. Bot. 96, 3–4 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Richard J. A. Buggs.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Buggs, R.J.A. Reconfiguring Darwin’s abominable mystery. Nat. Plants 8, 194–195 (2022).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing