Extinct plant species discovered in amber

Photo by George Poinar


Biologists have described a new species of extinct plant, based on two fossil flowers that were trapped in chunks of amber for at least 15 million years, the BBC reports.

Strychnos electri belongs to the genus whose tropical shrubs, trees and vines are famous for producing the deadly toxin strychnine.

The US researchers named it after the Greek word for amber (“elektron”) – the fossilised resin of long-dead trees.

Their discovery appears in the journal Nature Plants.

The two flowers were among 500 fossils collected on a 1986 field trip by Professor George Poinar of Oregon State University.

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