Over the past two decades there has been remarkable progress in resolving angiosperm phylogeny and patterns of evolution. Analyses of large, primarily plastid molecular data sets have revealed new insights into numerous historically contentious problems of deep-level angiosperm phylogeny, including relationships among “basal angiosperms” (not members of either the eudicot or monocot clades), among clades of Mesangiospermae, and among major clades of eudicots. The same large data sets also have provided evidence for numerous rapid radiations throughout the evolution of angiosperms. The five lineages of Mesangiospermae, as well as most major core eudicot lineages, each likely arose within a narrow range of just a few million years. The rapid radiations in rosids (Rosidae) gave rise to angiosperm-dominated forests, which are also associated with the diversification of ants, beetles, hemipterans, amphibians, and most extant ferns. Ongoing phylogenetic analyses now routinely construct phylogenetic hypotheses encompassing thousands of taxa. Such trees enable us to take a broad phylogenetic perspective on character evolution, community assembly, and conservation. While the wealth of new sequence data continues to transform the study of angiosperm evolution, it also presents major computational and informatic challenges associated with the management and analysis of enormous data sets.
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