© 2014, © 2014 Taylor & Francis. Studies of the earliest Cretaceous angiosperms in the 1970s made only broad comparisons with living taxa, but discoveries of fossil flowers and increasingly robust molecular phylogenies of living angiosperms allow more secure recognition of extant clades. The middle to late Albian rise of tricolpate pollen and the first local dominance of angiosperm leaves mark the influx of near-basal lines of eudicots. Associated flowers indicate that palmately lobed ‘platanoids’ and Sapindopsis are both stem relatives of Platanus, while Nelumbites was related to Nelumbo (also Proteales) and Spanomera to Buxaceae. Monocots are attested by Aptian Liliacidites pollen and Acaciaephyllum leaves and Albian araceous inflorescences. Several Albian–Cenomanian fossils belong to Magnoliidae in the revised monophyletic sense, including Archaeanthus in Magnoliales and Virginianthus and Mauldinia in Laurales, while late Barremian pollen tetrads (Walkeripollis) are related to Winteraceae. In the basal ANITA grade, Nymphaeales are represented by Aptian and Albian flowers and whole plants (Monetianthus, Carpestella and Pluricarpellatia). Epidermal similarities of lower Potomac leaves to woody members of the ANITA grade are consistent with Albian flowers assignable to Austrobaileyales (Anacostia). Aptian to Cenomanian mesofossils represent both crown group Chloranthaceae (Asteropollis plant) and stem relatives of Chloranthaceae and/or Ceratophyllum (Canrightia, Zlatkocarpus, Pennipollis plant and possibly Appomattoxia).