Anatomically preserved Liquidambar (Altingiaceae) from the middle Miocene of Yakima Canyon, Washington state, USA, and its biogeographic implications

Kathleen Pigg, Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond, Jun Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Liquidambar changii Pigg, Ickert-Bond & Wen sp. nov. (Altingiaceae) is established for anatomically preserved, middle Miocene infructescences from Yakima Canyon, Washington, USA. Specimens are spherical, ∼2.5 cm in diameter, and have ∼25-30 tightly packed, bilocular fruits per head. Fruits are 3.4-4.7 mm wide X 2.6-3.5 mm long and wedge shaped, fused at the base, and free distally. Each locule contains 1-2 mature, elongate seeds proximally and 5-9 aborted seeds of more irregular shape distally. Mature seeds are 1.5 mm long X 1.2 mm wide, elongate, and triangular transversely, with a slight flange. Seeds have a seed coat for which three zones can be well defined, a uniseriate outer palisade layer, a middle region of isodiametric cells comprising most of the integument, and a uniseriate inner layer of tangentially elongate cells lining the embryo cavity. Liquidambar changii is most similar to the eastern Asian L. acalycina H.-T. Chang on features of infructescence, fruit, and seed morphology and quite unlike the North American L. styraciflua L. and other species. Such a close relationship between these two species supports a Beringian biogeographic track between eastern Asia and western North America during the Miocene. Previous phylogenetic and allozyme analysis of modern Liquidambar demonstrates a close relationship between North American-western Asian taxa and suggests a North Atlantic biogeographic track in the middle Miocene. Together, these biogeographic tracks underscore the complexity of the biogeographic history of the Altingiaceae in the Northern Hemisphere throughout the Neogene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-509
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Altingia
  • Altingiaceae
  • Biogeography
  • Fossil fruit
  • Infructescence
  • Liquidambar
  • Miocene
  • Silicification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Anatomically preserved Liquidambar (Altingiaceae) from the middle Miocene of Yakima Canyon, Washington state, USA, and its biogeographic implications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this