Timeline of Trees

There are approximately 3 trillion trees on earth with over 60,065 species in the Plant Kingdom, defined by two groups:

Gymnosperms (naked seed) – typically evergreen trees

Non-flowering trees, whose seeds are not enclosed in an ovary, but are exposed on the surface or held in a structure such as a cone or naked berry. Some refer to gymnosperms as softwoods, yet some of the hardest woods in the world are gymnosperms. They were the first true trees on earth and constitute approximately 20% of all trees in the world today.

Angiosperms (enclosed seed) – typically deciduous trees

These are flowering trees whose seeds form in ovules contained in ovaries, which are enclosed by fruits that developed from the pistol of a blossom. Some refer to angiosperms as hardwoods. They appeared after gymnosperms and make up almost 80% of all tree species living in the world today.

4.6 billion BCE – Earth became a stationary planet.

385 million BCE – The first trees were tall plants with fern-like leaves of the genus Archaeopteris.

329 million BCE – Gymnosperms (naked seed) first appeared as cone-bearing conifers in the late Permian to Triassic period. This included genus’s such as: Ginkgo, Cedrus, Pinus, Larix, Acacia, Sequoia, Taxus and Agathis.

230 million BCE – Dinosaurs appeared in the Jurassic Period.

125 million BCE – Angiosperms (enclosed seed) first appeared as flowering trees such as magnolias and laurels during the early Cretaceous Period when the Pangaea continent began dividing. Angiosperms multiplied and diversified on every continent.

95 million BCE – Maple, beech, sycomore, oak and other angiosperms began to proliferate and dominate the world.

70 million BCE – Palm trees such as date palms and coconut palms began to appear.

65 million BCE – Dinosaurs & ammonites became extinct.

13 million BCE – The first primates appeared on earth.

2-4 million BCE – The genus Homo began to evolve in Africa.

300,000 BCE Homo sapiens evolved in Africa marking the beginning point of our “Family Tree.”

150,000 BCE Homo sapiens began forming tribes that moved out of Africa and populated the earth.

10,000 BCE – Humans around the world began cultivating trees for food, lumber, shelter, medicine etc.

1500 BCE – Plant identification and classification is found in Sanskrit (Hindu) texts such as the Rigveda and Atharvaveda.

350 BCE – Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle in Athens, is seen as the “Father of Botany” only two books survived.

60 CE – Dioscorides wrote De Materia Medica describing plants as medicine, which was the guidebook for 1500 years.

1542 – Jean Fernel, intrigued by the “New World” arborvitae, wrote Physiologia, inspiring modern medicine and botany.

1758 – Carl Linnaeus, the “Father of Taxonomy” published a series of books using Latin names to identify plants that classified them into species (taxon), genus and family.

2018 – Botany is a dynamic and evolving field as new species are identified while some are now extinct or nearing extinction.

 “Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.” – Hermann Hesse