Eocene Balloon Vine from The Green River Formation

Cardiospermum coloradensis

Division Magnoliophyta, Class Magnoliopsida, Order Sapindales, Family Sapindaceae

Geologic Time: Eocene

Size: 45 mm

Fossil Site: Green River Shale, Uintah County, Utah

Cardiospermum coloradensis Description: The Green River Formation deposits of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah are best known for their immaculately preserved fish, but other examples are known as well, as this specimen attests. This is an example of a leaf from a tree of the Sapindaceae (Soapberry) family. The deep brown color is a fine contrast to the light shale matrix. The extant Cardiospermum are herbaceous or woody vines common in the West Indies, although one species is found in North America growing from Missouri south into Mexico. The balloon vines are a common fossil in the Green River, Florissant, and Ruby floras of the Eocene.

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