Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Species of Flower Discovered

A New Species of Flower has been discovered in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, that is related to daisy & petunia.  Scientists estimate the speices to be up to 45 million years old. 
The well preserved flowers are trumpet shaped, covered with fine hairs, and less than 10 millimeters long.
Although not complete, the specimens include corollas, stamens and a single filament like style that protrudes from the mouth of the flower, providing the researchers with enough detail to classify them as part of the Strychnos genus.

Today the genus has around 200 species, including the strychnine bush, which is found in northern Australia.

They think that this particular flowers was most likely a vine and lived in a humid, tropical forest.
Despite its excellent state of preservation the researchers were unable to make out the color of the flowers although most Strychnos species have white or cream colored flowers.

While researchers do not know exactly what would have pollinated the fossil flowers, small bees commonly found in Dominican amber may be a possibility.
Amber is very good for all kinds of fossils, Dr Poinar said, although flowers usually decay very quickly since the petals are fragile.

The flowers of Strychnos electri were encased in the resin of a large, abundant ( and now extinct) tropical tree Hymenaea protera, which formed part of the forest canopy.

The fact they were small, made it more likely they became fully covered and protected by the resin's sticky mass.
As for leaves, branches, and fruits for plants, these are larger and often more firmly attached to the rest of the
plant, and therefore is less likely to end up as loose fragments in amber pieces..

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