A shiny flower trapped in amber 100 million years ago reveals its beauty

This tiny flower in amber has been around for 100 million years.

George Poinar Jr. / OSU

Most flowers have a short but glorious life. The exquisite appearance of a single flower has been preserved in Burmese amber for millions of years. A team led by researchers from Oregon State University shared the discovery of the new flower, and the bloom remains stunning as well as no doubt the day it was captured on time.

“This isn’t exactly a Christmas flower, but it’s a beauty, especially considering it’s part of a forest that existed 100 million years ago,” said amber expert George Poinar Jr., an emeritus professor at OSU, this week. .

Poinar is the lead author of a paper on the flower published this month in the journal of the Texas Botanical Research Institute.

Here is another look at Valviloculus pleristaminis, a flower that has been in amber for a million years.

George Poinar Jr. / OSU

What we see is an extreme close-up of a very small flower measuring just a fraction of an inch (2 millimeters). The anthers – the part of the male flower that produces pollen – are preserved in a spiral vortex pattern.

The research team named the flower, which is a new genus and species, Valviloculus pleristaminis.

“Valva is the Latin term for a leaf on a folding door, loculus means section, plerus refers to many, and staminis reflects dozens of male sexual organs on a flower,” OSU explained.

The flower gives scientists a glimpse into the ancient botanical past. They suspect that the solitary male flower was once part of a cluster on a plant that may have had female flowers as well. Poinar said, “Even though we are so small, the details that are still amazing are.”