Fossil Amber with Botanical Inclusions of Virola Hallucigenic Tree

Name: Insects and Plants in fossil amber

Class Insecta: Hymenoptera, Homoptera;

Kingdom Plantae; Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Magnoliales; Family: Myristicaceae; Virola sp.

Geological Time: Pliocene to Pleistocene

Size: Amber 41 mm long , 35 mm across, 5.9 grams

Location: Andean Uplift Region, Andes Mountains, Colombia

Virola plant fossil in amberThis piece of fossil amber displays a rare plant fossil inclusion, a number of flowers of a tree of the genus Virola. Most, if not all, species of Virola have a copious red resin in the inner bark. The resin from a number of species is prepared as a hallucinogenic snuff. Probably the most important species is Virola theiodora, a slender tree 25-75 feet in height, native to the forests of the western Amazon basin. The very small flowers, borne singly or in clusters of 2 to 10, are strongly pungent. Several flies, two ants, a stingless bee and a planthopper nymph are in association.

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