Amborella trichopoda Baill.
Color: Creamy white
Bloom Time: March to May
Amborella trichopoda is a small tropical sprawling shrub or small tree that grows up to 26 feet (8 m) tall. It is endemic to New Caledonia, and it is the only species in the genus Amborella, which is the only member of the family Amborellaceae. The evergreen leaves are small, white to yellow, and up to 4 inches (10 cm) long. The small, creamy white, inconspicuous flowers are arranged in terminal inflorescences of 2 to 30 flowers, up to 0.16 inches (4 mm) in diameter, with 7 or 8 tepals.
Amborella – Record of the Evolution of Flowering Plants
Amborella is a rare understory shrub, or small tree found only on the island of New Caledonia. Amborella trichopoda is the only species in the genus and is the only member of the family Amborellaceae. It was known for some time already that Amborella wood has a peculiar character – it lacks the vessels characteristic of most flowering plants. This lack of vessels is a trait that is more typically associated with conifers and is therefore thought to be a primitive trait in the evolution of plants in general.
There are a few lineages of flowering plants that also lack vessels, and these lineages are also considered to be very old plant lineages. However, it was only at the advent of the molecular age that Amborella was finally assigned its rightful place at or near the base of all flowering plant lineages. Amborella thus represents a line of flowering plants that diverged very early (about 130 million years ago) from all the other known species of flowering plants. See more at Amborella: The Flower Before All Flowers.
Endemic to the main island Grande Terre of New Caledonia.
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