Gandolfo, M. A., K. C. Nixon, and W. L. Crepet. 1998. New fossil flower from the Turonian of New Jersey: Dressiantha bicarpellata gen. et sp. nov. (Capparales). American Journal of Botany 85(7):964-974.

Abstract: Recent discoveries of fossil reproductive structures from deposits of the Raritan Formation in New Jersey (Turonian, Upper Cretaceous, ca 90 MYBP) include ferns and gymnosperms in addition to flowers and fruits with affinities to the extant orders Hamamelidales, Ericales, Rosales, Magnoliales, Fagales, and families Lauraceae and Chloranthaceae. The fossils are usually charcoalified with three-dimensional structure and excellent cellular details. In the present contribution, we introduce a taxon represented by a number of fossil flowers that embodies a combination of characters now found in several different families of the Order Capparales sensu Cronquist. The fossil species is characterized by an unique suite of characters, such as the presence of a gynophore, arrangement of the sepals, unequal petal size, monothecal anthers, and a bicarpellate gynoecium, that are found in extant families of the Order Capparales. This new taxon constitutes an important addition to our understanding of Cretaceous angiosperm diversity. Heretofore, the oldest known capparalean was from the Late Tertiary sediments of North America.


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Dressiantha bicarpellata
Actual width in ( ) unless otherwise noted.

Top view of flower
(810 mm)
Side view of flower
(height= 1.7 mm)
Side view of flower
with petal removed
(height= 1.7 mm)

Gynoecium and stamenodes
on gynophore
(height= 470 µm)
Petal with attached stamen
(length= 1.2 mm)
Dehised anther
(anther width= 180 µm)
(pollen lenght= 11 µm)