Plant occupation of land was a crucial step in evolution, without which life as we know it today would not exist. Stefan Rensing takes us on an evolutionary journey, discussing the advent of photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and eukaryotic algae, which led to atmospheric oxygen, to plant terrestrialization, which required complex processes such as the development of protective phenylpropanoids and numerous phytohormones (both discussed here). Owing to the lack of fossil records, existing species are often used to infer evolutionary events. In the hopes of unraveling the mystery of early land plant evolution, this review focuses on the transition of organisms from water to land, the subsequent emergence of non-vascular lineages, and the comparisons of these early organisms to vascular plants. (Summary by Alecia Biel) Curr Opin Plant Bio. 10.1016/j.pbi.2018.02.006.