Staminate flower of Prunus s. l. (Rosaceae) from Eocene Rovno amber (Ukraine) - NMS Research Repository
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Journal article

Staminate flower of Prunus s. l. (Rosaceae) from Eocene Rovno amber (Ukraine)

21 July 2018

Abstract

The late Eocene ambers provide plethora of animal and plant fossils including well-preserved angiosperm flowers from the Baltic amber. The Rovno amber from NW Ukraine resembles in many aspects the Baltic amber; however, only fossilized animals and some bryophytes have yet been studied from the Rovno amber. We provide the first detailed description of an angiosperm flower from Rovno amber. The flower is staminate with conspicuous hypanthium, double pentamerous perianth and whorled androecium of 24 stamens much longer than the petals. Sepals are sparsely pubescent and petals are densely hirsute outside. The fossil shares important features with extant members of Prunus subgen. Padus s. l. (incl. Laurocerasus, Pygeum and Maddenia), especially with its evergreen paleotropical species. It is described here as a new species Prunus hirsutipetala D.D.Sokoloff, Remizowa et Nuraliev. Our study provides the first convincing record of fossil flowers of Rosaceae from Eocene of Europe and the earliest fossil flower of Prunus outside North America. Our record of a plant resembling extant tropical species supports palaeoentomological evidences for warm winters in northwestern Ukraine during the late Eocene, as well as suggesting a more significant role of tropical insects in Rovno amber than inferred from Baltic amber.

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