fossil update

Jan Schlauer (
Mon, 6 Jun 1994 09:41:51 +0100

>>>Jan, it is surprising to me that the fossil record is so poor for CP. I'm
>>It is not as surprising to me, indeed. Remember most cp are (sometimes
>>ery) delicate herbs (only very rarely woody!) which are decomposed very
>Right. The only CP with sturdy portions are the Sarraceniaceae, Nepenthes,
>and VFTs. I suppose that even if you successfully fossilized a sundew, unless
>you had a fossil so supremely wonderful that the gland-bearing tentacles were
>still visible, it wouldn't look like much other than a leaf.

Having focussed on _Drosera_, I have completely overlooked/forgotten some
really interesting fossils of (NB: the *very* delicate) _Aldrovanda_ from
Europe and boreal Asia from as early strata as the Eocene and Oligocene
(i.e. times at which supposedly not even the idea to develop
Lentibulariaceae was born...). These early specimens are not classified as
the modern species _A.vesiculosa_ but as some primitive congeners (now
extinct). The absence of _Drosera_ in these strata may be explained by the
possibility that it did not occur in the northern hemisphere that early. If
now _Aldrovanda_ (which is considered a rather *advanced* member of
Droseraceae!) has had this wide distribution even in the early Tertiary,
very far-fetching theories could be established concerning the (supposedly)
more primitive genera _Dionaea_ and especially _Drosophyllum_...

I also have to remind it was originally Diels4 idea, and not mine, that the
European/boreal Asian species of _Drosera_ originated in America (but this
doesn4t need to falsify this theory, does it?).

Kind regards