The Evolution Garden in Singapore's Botanical Gardens tries to represent what the world looked like as the first plants started to appear.
Whilst early life started to evolve in the oceans, the land still remained sterile for several billions of years. Around 450 million years ago the first land plant started to appear. Liverworts and algae started to grow near rivers. The ancient continents started to collide forming larger landmasses. The shrinking of the larger oceans allowed for coral reefs to thrive in coastal seas.
By 380 million years ago, vegetation consisting of the primitive ancestors of our modern clubmosses, horsetale and spike mosses covered the land. The first primitive ferns also started to grow. The Singapore botanical garden staff have produced a rock strewn area covered with mosses and little else. This gives a vivid picture of what the early, vegetation landscape would look like.
It is such a clever idea to show history and the evolution story by careful planting. It must be a constant battle for the gardeners to prevent other plants growing in this area. It has to be a full-time job trying to maintain the mosses, ferns and liverworts. The high canopy of trees helps produce a dappled shade. There were no land animals at this time. No dinosaurs.