A new genus and type of flower discovered from the Cretaceous period

Researchers from Oregon State University have discovered a new genus and type of flower that dates back to the Cretaceous period. The flower is a male specimen that was frozen in time by the Burmese Amber. Researcher George Poinar Jr. says the flower was part of a forest that existed 100 million years ago.

It is difficult to recognize in the pictures, but the flower is tiny at only two millimeters. It contains 50 anthers arranged in a spiral of anthers directed towards the sky. The stamen consists of a anther, a head that produces pollen, and a thread that represents the stem that connects the anther to the flower.

Although the amber-coated flower is tiny, the detail that survived millions and millions of years is impressive. The flower also contains an ovoid hollow flower cup, the part of the flower from which the anthers originate. It also has an outer layer of six petal-like components known as tepals.

Researchers also notice two-chamber anthers with pollen sacs that open through side articulated valves. Researchers at Oregon State University collaborated with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, naming the flower Valviloculus pleristaminis. Valva is the Latin term for a leaf on a folding door, loculus means section, plerus refers to many, and staminis to dozens of male flower genitals.

The flower was framed by amber millions of years before the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana split. When that ancient supercontinent split, the flower traveled 4,000 kilometers across the ocean from Australia to Southeast Asia. It is debated when a piece of land known as the West Burmese bloc separated from the ancient supercontinent.

Some scientists believe that it happened 200 million years ago, while others claim that it happened 500 million years ago. The discovery of the flower could help you in a more precise date because the angiosperms developed and diversified about 100 million years ago. Poinar says the West Burmese bloc could not have been separated from Gondwana before, much later than the date suggested by geologists.