This perfectly preserved prehistoric flower embedded in amber is thought to be a long-lost relative of modern plants including sunflowers, coffee, peppers, potatoes and mint. Its discovery in a mine in the Dominican Republic represents the first evidence that this major group of plants – the asterids – comprising some 80,000 species, had reached the New World by between 15 and 45 million years ago, the estimated age of the fossil amber. "It’s the first example of an asterid in the New World," says Lena Struwe of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. "It tells us the plants were there in the Mid-Tertiary, 20 to 40 million years ago. It also tells us that these plants were very similar to their modern day relatives, and allowed us to give our discovery a species name – Strychnos electri."
/ / / Beautiful amber fossil flower reveals plant history of New World