The First Fossil Flowers of Bignoniaceae (Lamiales): Catalpa hispaniolae sp. nov. in Dominican Republic Amber

  • George O. Poinar, Jr. Oregon State University
Keywords: Amber, Bignoniaceae, Caribbean, Catalpa, Dominican Republic, paleobotany


Two fossil flowers in mid-Tertiary amber from the Dominican Republic are described as Catalpa hispaniolae Poinar sp. nov. (Bignoniaceae). Their placement in the genus Catalpa Scop. is based on the following characters: flowers hypogenous, gamopetalous, zygomorphic, bisexual with a sessile ovary and single filiform style; calyx composed of two cup-shaped sepals; corolla bilabiate with five united petals; and two fertile stamens with oblong anthers consisting of divergent locules dehiscing via longitudinal slits. These flowers can be distinguished from extant members of the genus by the smaller calyx and corolla and lack of staminodia. These specimens represent the first definite fossil flowers of the Bignoniaceae.