RARE Cretaceous Sapindaceae Fossil Plant from Lebanon

Name: Sapindales; Sapindaceae; Sapindopsis anhouryi (Soapberry family)

Division: Magnoliophyta; Class: Magnoliopsida; Order: Sapindales

Geological Age: Middle Cretaceous; Middle Cenomanian Stage (93 million years ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): 160 mm long, 85 mm across on a 160 mm by 165 mm matrix

Fossil Site: en-Nammoura, Lebanon Sublithographic Limestone

Fossil Plant from LebanonDescription: Known for its incredibly well-preserved fish and crustaceans, the sublithographic limestone of the Cretaceous of Lebanon also preserved incredible detail here as well. This is an exceptional example of the Sapindaeceae (soapberry tree) known as Sapindopsis, a genus found as well in the Cretaceous deposits of western North America. The modern-day genus Sapindus was first seen in the Eocene of North America. Its fruits contain saponin, a substance that has been used as a soap substitute. Few plants are preserved in the Cretaceous marine deposits of Lebanon, and most are marine algae, so this is a most uncommon fossil. The quarries of en-Nammoura are one of the few places where plants of this age are preserved, and this is an exceptional example of the type.

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