Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilised specimens of Magnolia acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals: Magnolias possess undifferentiated flower parts for which the term "tepals" was coined. (Wikipedia)
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