Meliorchis caribea- The first orchid fossil discovered.

Does orchid plant material fossil exists?

YES!!! It does exist but is extremely rare. Even fossil plant materials are not common as the original organic material has decayed, leaving only cavity in amber. The first orchid fossil of Meliorchis caribea is discovered in 2007.


Typical Jurassic forest setting


Plant and insect materials trapped in pieces of amber.


Close up of plant materials trapped in amber.

It has been reported in 2007 that the first orchid fossil has been found in amber. The orchid species is identified as Meliorchis caribea which has extinct from our world. This ancient species has been identified by Santiago R. Ramírez of Harvard University and colleagues that it belongs to the genus Goodyerinae.

The important discovery has indicated that the orchids arose between approximately 70 to 80 million years ago. Experts have used the fossil pollen grains to estimate the ages of the family tree of orchidaecea.

Link to the holotype of Meliorchis caribea.

Link to the BBC article on the discovery of the orchid fossil.


One Response to “Meliorchis caribea- The first orchid fossil discovered.”

  1. Interesting information! Soft plant parts easily rot away before any fossilization can occur so the historic record for orchids and other soft bodied organisms is often poor. I did want to point out one thing you might want to correct. Meliorchis is the genus while Goodyerinae is the subtribe it belongs to. Thanks again for these interesting posts!

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