The largest flower in amber 40 million years ago

Image courtesy of Carola Radke, Berlin Nature Museum

A study published by German scientists documented a known maximized stone flower preserved in amber, which is 28 mm in diameter and 3 times the size of other fossil flowers. The study was recently published in Scientific Reports.

Wrapped in amber from the Baltic forests of northern Europe, the flower dates back nearly 40 million years and is thought to come from an ancient flowering evergreen plant originally named Stewartia kowalewskii.

Eva-Maria Sadowski and Christa-Charlotte Hofmann of the Natural History Museum in Berlin, Germany, reanalyzed the unusually large fossil flower, which was first described and named in 1872. The flower dates back to the late Eocene, 38 million to 33.9 million years ago.

The researchers extracted pollen from the fossil sample, and after analysis, the flower was found to be a close relative of an Asian species called alum. The author proposes to rename the flower Symplocos kowalewskii.

They believe that S. kowalewskii’s rare size may have come from a massive exudation of resin that wrapped the flower. The properties of this resin may help prevent organic matter from growing on the flower and causing damage. (Source: China Science News Feng Lifei)

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