Scientists have described the largest flower frozen in amber 40 million years ago

(ORDO NEWS) — Two paleontologists from Berlin and Vienna described a flower found in the collection of the Federal Institute for Geosciences, Berlin, frozen in an amber ingot.

The flower fossilized 40 million years ago. Its size is 28 mm. This is the largest flower among all found in amber.

Almost 40 million years ago, a flower bloomed in a coniferous forest on the shores of the Baltic Sea in the area of ​​present-day Kaliningrad. Dripping tree resin covered its petals. And he petrified.

A piece of amber was found no later than 1872. It belonged to the pharmacist Kovalevsky. He probably donated the amber to the Berlin Museum.

The fossil was kept in the collection of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Berlin (BGR) for almost 150 years, and literally until last year did not arouse much interest.

Lead author Eva-Maria Sadowski heard about the petrified flower, officially known as specimen X4088, from a colleague.

But she decided that he was exaggerating the size of the flower: “He told me that once he was in BGR and saw the most amazing and largest flower in amber in the collection.

I just didn’t know they had a collection of amber. So I asked the curator of the BGR collection if I could come and see their collection. That’s where I found sample X4088.”

Scientists have described the largest flower frozen in amber 40 million years ago 2
Symplocos kowalewskii. amber sample

Paleontologists have studied and described the find in detail. Flower diameter 28 mm. This is the largest known flower fossilized in amber – three times larger than similar fossils.

Scientists have extracted and examined pollen from amber. Sadowski says: “The original generic name for this specimen was Stewartia from the Theaceae plant family.

But in our study, we were able to show that this is not true, mainly based on pollen morphology.”

The petrified flower is closely related to the genus of modern plants, common in Asia and known as Symplocos: these are shrubs or trees with white or yellow flowers.

Initially, the flower was named Stewartia kowalewskii (after the pharmacist who found it), but the authors of the work propose a new name – Symplocos kowalewskii. It retains the name, but more accurately morphologically.


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