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Sciadopitys cladodes from Eocene Baltic amber

Sadowski, Eva‐Maria, Schmidt, Alexander R., Kunzmann, Lutz, Gröhn, Carsten, Seyfullah, Leyla J.
Botanical journal of the Linnean Society 2016 v.180 no.2 pp. 258-268
Magnoliophyta, Sciadopitys, amber, arthropods, botanical composition, chemical analysis, cladodes, conifers, forests, fossils, habitats, leaves, paleoecology, swamps, Europe
The Baltic amber deposit represents the largest accumulation of any fossil resin worldwide and hundreds of thousands of entrapped arthropods have been recovered so far. The source plants of Baltic amber, however, are still controversial, and the botanical composition of the ‘Baltic amber forest’ remains poorly studied. Here, we provide the first unequivocal Baltic amber inclusions of the umbrella pine Sciadopitys (Sciadopityaceae), a genus that has been suggested as the source of succinite (the main variety of Baltic amber) based on chemical analyses. As previously suggested sciadopitoid inclusions must be reconsidered as being notional, representing angiosperm leaves instead, the new fossils are the first unambiguous macrofossil evidence of Sciadopitys from the ‘Baltic amber forest’, and the first pre‐Oligocene macrofossil record of Sciadopitys from Europe. The fossil Sciadopitys cladodes provide new insights into the conifer diversity of the ‘Baltic amber forest’ and broaden the picture of its palaeoecology, indicating the presence of humid swamp to raised bog habitats. © 2015 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2016, 180, 258–268.