Answer Monday!
May 19, 2014

Photo Credit: angela7dreams via Compfight cc

Last week on Fossil Friday, I gave you a pretty easy plant fossil to identify. Why so easy? Al though this fossil dates back to the Miocene, there are plenty of this same genus around today!

What was it? An Acacia of course, found in Mint Canyon in Southern California. I always thought of Acacia as an Australian tree, but according to the USGS there are some living in the US even today. According to Encyclopedia Britannica:

acacia, any of about 800 species of trees and shrubs comprising a genus (Acacia) in the pea family (Fabaceae) and native to tropical and subtropical regions of the world, particularly Australia (there called wattles) and Africa…Several acacia species are important economically.  A. senegal, native to the Sudan region in Africa, yields true gum arabic, a substance used in adhesives, pharmaceuticals, inks, confections, and other products. The bark of most acacias is rich in tannin, which is used in tanning and in dyes, inks, pharmaceuticals, and other products.

Thanks for playing this week. Stay tuned this Friday, when we keep the plant party going on Fossil Friday!

Fossil Friday!
May 16, 2014

This week on Fossil Friday, I bring you another green thing from ancient history. Of course, this plant is actually still around today, even though this fossil dates to the Miocene. This small leaf is about the size of a quarter and was found in Southern California. Though its living descendants are still found in tropical and subtropical regions, they are most commonly associated with Australia (at least that is how I first heard about them!). Can you guess what it is?