J Syst Evol

• Research Article •    

Parrotia flower blooming in Miocene rainforest

Xie‐Ting Wu1,2, Jun‐Wu Shu1, Su‐Xin Yin1,2, Eva‐Maria Sadowski3, and Gong‐Le Shi1,4*   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Chinese Academy of Science, Nanjing 210008, China;
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China;
    3 Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Berlin 10115, Germany;
    4 Institute of Botany, Jiangsu Province and Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210014, China
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail:glshi@nigpas.ac.cn
  • Received:2023-01-04 Accepted:2023-05-18 Online:2023-07-18

Abstract: Parrotia C. A. Meyer (Hamamelidaceae) is a relictual genus with only two extant species disjunctly distributed in the subtropical forests of East China and temperate forests of North Iran. Fossil records suggest that Parrotia was widespread in Europe and Asia during the Miocene, but its fossils are predominantly based on pollen and leaves. In this paper we describe the first fossil flower of Parrotia based on an exceptionally well‐ preserved amber inclusion from the middle Miocene of Zhangpu, Southeast China. The fossil flower was investigated with light microscope and microcomputed tomography techniques. Parrotia zhiyani sp. nov. is a small apetalous staminate flower subtended by a pair of prominent bracts. The androecium consists of 12 stamens, and each stamen consists of a short, slender filament and a prominent, elongated anther. The anthers with short simple trichomes on the outer surface and a prominent apical connective extension are opened by longitudinal slits. Unlike its living relatives, the new Parrotia from Zhangpu grew in a Miocene seasonal tropical rainforest.

Key words: amber, flower, Fujian, Hamamelidaceae, Parrotia, rainforest