Nav: Home

Oldest completely preserved lily discovered

July 11, 2019

Botanist Dr. Clement Coiffard of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin discovered the oldest, completely preserved lily in the research collection: Cratolirion bognerianum was found in calcareous sediments of a former freshwater lake in Crato in northeastern Brazil. With an age of about 115 million years, Cratolirion is one of the oldest known monocotyledonous plants. These include orchids, sweet grasses, lilies and lilies of the valley.

Cratolirion is extraordinarily well preserved, with all roots, the flower and even the individual cells are fossilised. With a length of almost 40 centimetres, the specimen is not only extremely huge, but also shows almost all the typical characteristics of monocotyledonous plants, including parallel-veined, narrow leaves with a leaf sheath, a fibrous root system and triple flowers.

However, it was not trivial to examine the fossilised object, as it consisted of iron oxides associated with the stone. In order to see details here, Coiffard collaborated with the HZB physicist Dr. Nikolay Kardjilov, who is an expert in 3D analysis with X-rays and neutrons. At the HZB he also built up a 3D computed x-ray tomography and refined the data analysis in such a way that hardly any disturbing artefacts arise during the investigation of large, flat objects. This made it possible to analyse the details of the inflorescence hidden in the stone. A colour coding in the CT scan makes these details visible: the main axis is marked in turquoise, the supporting leaves in dark green, the pistils in light green and the remains of the actual petals can still be seen in orange.

Many early dicotyledonous flowering plants have already been described from the same sediments of the former freshwater lake in Crato. These include water lilies, aron rods, drought-resistant magnolias and relatives of pepper and laurel. In contrast to other flowering plants of the same age from the USA, Portugal, China and Argentina, the flowering plants of the Crato-Flora are unusually diverse. This could be due to the fact that Lake Crato was in the lower latitudes, but all other fossils of early flowering plants come from the middle latitudes.

From this newly described plant Cratolirion bognerianum and the species of Crato flora mentioned above, it can be deduced that the tropical flowering plants were already very diverse. "It is probable that flowering plants originated in the tropics, but only very few fossils have been described to date," explains Coiffard. This study thus provides new insights into the role of the tropics in the development of early flowering plants and their rise to global supremacy.
-end-


Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie

Related Flowering Plants Articles:

Newly identified gene helps time spring flowering in vital grass crops
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have identified a gene that keeps grasses from entering their flowering cycle until the season is right, a discovery that may help plant breeders and engineers get more from food and energy crops.
Biodiversity loss shifts flowering phenology at same magnitude as global warming
Researchers have revealed that declining plant diversity -- from habitat loss, human use, and other environmental pressures -- causes plants to flower earlier, and that the effects of diversity loss on the timing of flowering are similar in magnitude to the effects of global warming.
Flowering times shift with loss of species from a grassland ecosystem
Scientists have documented many cases in which the timing of seasonal events, such as the flowering of plants or the emergence of insects, is changing as a result of climate change.
Mid-Mesozoic beetle in amber stirs questions on rise of flowering plants and pollinators
The discovery of a beetle and pollen in 105-million-year-old Spanish amber is proof of a new insect pollination mode that dates to the mid-Mesozoic, before the rise of flowering plants.
Highly efficient genome engineering in flowering plants
Plant biologists at ITbM, Nagoya University have developed a genome editing method to knockout target genes in a model plant with high efficiency.
Triploid flowering pears reduce self-sowing
In analyses of 13 flowering pear triploids, relative female fertility was significantly reduced, ranging from 0.0% to 33.6%.
Kent State professor studies how selfish genes cause male sterility in flowering plants
Why are plants often sterile when their parents are from different species?
Miracle fruit's flowering, fruiting behaviors revealed
Researchers studied flower morphology and development of miracle fruit using microscopic techniques.
Flowering meadows benefit humankind
The more it swarms, crawls, flies the better it is.
A step closer to understanding the 'switch' that triggers flowering in plants
Scientists at the John Innes Centre have taken another crucial step towards understanding how plants initiate flowering.

Related Flowering Plants Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#530 Why Aren't We Dead Yet?
We only notice our immune systems when they aren't working properly, or when they're under attack. How does our immune system understand what bits of us are us, and what bits are invading germs and viruses? How different are human immune systems from the immune systems of other creatures? And is the immune system so often the target of sketchy medical advice? Those questions and more, this week in our conversation with author Idan Ben-Barak about his book "Why Aren't We Dead Yet?: The Survivor’s Guide to the Immune System".