|Naming and discovery|
Amborella trichopoda is a rare shrub of small tree that is the sole member of the Amborellaceae family. It is native only to New Caledonia. It is of great interest to plant taxonomy because more recent Molecular phylogenetics data place it at or near the base of all flowering plants. That is, it represents a line of flowering plants that diverged very early, about 30 million years ago, from all the other extant flowering plants. Comparing characteristics of this extant basal angiosperm, more derived flowering plants, and fossil flowering plants may help provide clues about characteristics of early flowering plants and how they evolved, changed, and adapted over time.
It is a shrub or small tree with two-ranked leaves with no stipules. The leaves are arranged alternately, are evergreen, simple, with serrated and rippled margins, reaching about 8-10 cm long. It is dioecious; each flower produces stamens and carpels, but only one sex develops completely and is fertile in the flowers of an individual member, while the structures of the other sex remain uncompleted. The small flowers are grown in cymose inflorescences or clusters, each with a perianth of undifferentiated tepals arranged in spirals, rather than the whorls in most other flowering plants. The fruit is a red berry containing one seed, 5-8 mm long. Its wood lacks vessels, a characteristic of most other flowering plants.