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Type: Article
Published: 2020-08-31
Page range: 423–432
Abstract views: 1719
PDF downloaded: 340

A unique flower in Miocene amber sheds new light on the evolution of flowers

College of Forestry, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou, Fujian 350002, China
Departamento de Geociencias, Universidad de Vigo, Vigo 36200, Spain
Fushun Amber Institute, Fushun 113008, China
Key Laboratory of National Forestry and Grassland Administration for Orchid Conservation and Utilization at College of Landscape Architecture, Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, Fuzhou 350001, China
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China
General flower Miocence amber eudicots Dominica Dinganthus


The evolution of flowers is among the foremost topics in evolutionary science. The question for botanists of how flowers evolved exists mainly due to lack of relevant fossil evidence, especially of well-preserved flowers. Dominican amber has yielded abundant fossils (including those of flowers) and thus opens a unique window on flower evolution. Here we report a unique flower preserved in mid-Miocene Dominican amber, Dinganthus pentamera gen. et sp. nov. The flower is actinomorphic, pentamerous, bisexual flower including two bracts, five tepals, 10 stamens, and gynoecium. The stamens are dorsifixed, filamentous, and latrorse. The gynoecium in the centre comprises three portions, namely, a basal gynophore, multiple ovaries in the middle, and an apical style. Supplementing to the developmental and genetic evidence, the unique morphology of Dinganthus suggests that a flower is a condensed shoot with lateral appendages, a long-held belief in botany.


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