Flowering plants have grown on every continent on earth. These plants make up nearly ninety percent of the plant kingdom. The total number of unique species is over 230,000, and many species in the tropics have not even been named yet. Over the past one hundred and thirty million years, flowering plants have grown in nearly every habitat to be found on earth, from mountain meadows to dense forests, from freshwater marshes to fertile grasslands, and from alpine summits to sun-baked deserts. Some of these plants even live underwater, and have adapted to salt water.
Seagrasses are the hardy plants that can live at the edge of the sea and even underwater. They include nearly fifty species. Almost all flowering plants produce a flower or bud of some type, even though in some families, the flowers cannot be seen by the naked eye. Some cultivars and grasses don't appear to produce flowers even though they have vestigial flowers.
The three most populous families of flowering plants contain the highest number of species. The legume family, the orchid family and the sunflower family are the three with the most species within them. Heads of flowers within the sunflower family come in sizes that extend from very small to very large. And orchids come in many different colors, sizes and shapes.
Some of the largest categories of the nonwoody flowering plants include asters, geraniums and orchids. On the other end of the species, the members of the largest woody plant groups include acacia, passion fruit and figs. All of these have members of their families that number in the hundreds or thousands.
All of the many thousands of flowering plant types were given scientific names by the botanists who discovered them. Scientific names are often brought down from Latin or Greek languages, and they are spelled with the letters of the Roman alphabet, regardless of where they are found. Plants of the flowering variety also have common names, as well, usually describing an aspect of their shape, or a person who helped discover them, or words that describe where they are grown. But sometimes the common names seem to have no meaning at all.
Some flowering plants don't have green leaves, and they live as parasites on the roots and stems of other plants. They take amino acids and sugars from the host plant, in order to grow. Some of these combinations make up the most bizarre-looking plants ever.
There are different types of flowering plant species all over the earth, from snowy mountains to barren deserts to underwater meadows. These plants all share one thing in common, and that is the ability to flower under whatever circumstances they find themselves in.