An international group of scientists has unearthed from a stone in Brazil what they say is the world's oldest preserved lily as it dates back to about 115 million years ago, the Daily Mail reports. A detailed description of the fossil plant has been published in the Nature Plants online magazine.
The height of the ancient lily is 40 centimetres. Experts have managed to scan the plant inside the rock in which it had been preserved, without damaging it. They say the lily contains a flower, the roots and even individual cells. Scientists have also concluded that it belongs to the same group of plants as modern lilies and orchids.
The fossil lily is thought to have grown in the area close to the present-day city of Crato in Brazil, and, as such, the ancient flower has been named Cratolirion bognerianum.
Botanist Clement Coiffard, who discovered the lily, believes that this finding will offer new insights into the role played by the tropics in the development of flowering plants.