Flowering plants contain many genes, most of which were created during the past 200 or so million years through small- and large-scale duplications. Paleo-polyploidy events, in particular, have been the subject of much recent research. There is a growing consensus that one or more genome doubling or merging events occurred early during the evolution of the flowering plants, and that many lineages have since undergone additional, independent and more recent duplication events. Here, we review the difficulties in determining the number of genome duplications and discuss how the completion of some additional genome sequences of species occupying key phylogenetic positions has led to a better understanding of the timing of certain duplication events. This is important if we want to demonstrate the significance of genome duplications for the evolution and radiation of (different groups of) flowering plants.