The striking diversity of floral shapes, color, and scent has captivated poets and scientist alike. However, Darwin noted that the diversity of flowering plants was almost too great to believe, something he referred to it as the “abominable mystery.” The quest to answer why we have so many flowering plants is still ongoing and has made flowers a model group to answer important questions about speciation. One particularly challenging aspect of the mystery is how new forms arise and spread.
Rapid land use and environmental change have the potential to eliminate species before they can be identified, yet understanding the diversity of ecosystems is essential in optimizing habitat restoration and management. Understanding the diversity and evolutionary history of plants and fungi provides the historical context that enriches our appreciation of the diversity that is found in native habitats.