Typical green Tuscany landscape in Val dOrcia with hills, trees, red poppies, and blue, cloudy sky | Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images

Flowers Conquered the World by Downsizing Their Genomes

The rapid spread of flowering plants across the planet was, according to Charles Darwin, an “abominable mystery” — and researchers say they now know how it happened.

A large intact specimen of the fossil Montsechia vidalii | Bernard Gomez
A mechanical dinosaur display at the Natural History Museum of Leiden | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum), a flowering plant that has been in decline for decades due to human-caused threats, such as habitat loss | Wikimedia Commons