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This odd specimen was found by a collector in Utah and was donated to the museum by Mark and Karen Newman. Originally thought to be  part of a cycad, it appears to be the cast of a root lignotuber,  a woody swelling of the root crown of a plant.  Root lignotubers  contain sugars, starches and dormant buds which help to plants to regenerate after the above ground part is destroyed by fire, drought  or some other stress.  The dark depressed areas, shown here but also present on the underside (inset), would have been the sites where  the plant's stems and roots had been .  The built up areas with the radiating lines around the circular areas were  areas of new growth around the missing stems or roots.  The specimen is 6 inches across.  Age unknown.

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Hicksville, NY  11801-3101

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