Rogersia (rah-JER-zee-ah)

An artist's reconstruction of a Rogersia plant showing a slender, unbranched stem with narrow oval leaves growing straing out from it.

Click to zoom.

Known from only a few isolated leaf fossils, Rogersia is the one flowering plant (angiosperm; AN-gee-oh-SPERM) shown in this image. The oldest angiosperm fossils discovered date from the Early Cretaceous, and the few shrubby species found in the Washington, DC area are among the oldest discovered anywhere. Angiosperms evolved and diversified over the next 50 million years, coming to dominate many of the Earth's ecosystems. Today, more than 2,700 species live in the Washington DC area alone, and nearby wetland ecosystems host hundreds more. They all descend from a few types, like Rogersia, that lived more than 110 million years ago.




This long, narrow Rogersia leaf has a rounded tip and a prominent midvein running the length of the leaf.

Early Cretaceous angiosperm fossils like this Rogersia leaf are much more rare than conifer and fern fossils from that time. Click to zoom.


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See flower photos for many angiosperms native to the DC area on the National Museum of Natural History Department of Botany's DC Flora web site.