is an ancient genus. Appearing before bees did, the flowers are theorized to have evolved to encourage #pollination
by beetles. To avoid damage from pollinating beetles, the #carpels
of Magnolia flowers are extremely tough. Fossilized specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the #Magnoliaceae
date to 95 million years ago. Another aspect of Magnolia considered to represent an ancestral state is that the flower bud is enclosed in a #bract
rather than in sepals; the perianth parts are undifferentiated and called #tepals
rather than distinct sepals and petals. Magnolia shares the tepal characteristic with several other flowering plants near the base of the flowering plant lineage such as #Amborella
(as well as with many more recently derived plants such as Lilium).