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Petrified palm wood

Palmoxylon sp.
Petrified palm woodNPL 523, and B 382
Found in Dimebox, Lee County, and in the Gulf coastal plain of Texas
Palms date back to 80 million years ago

This interesting fossil is cut vertically so that we can see the inside and outside of a petrified palm tree. Small secondary roots would have been attached to the small bumps of the outer side. Most of the time dead trees lying on the ground decompose completely in as little as three years. Luckily this part was a root and probably underground when it died. Over the years silica-rich fluids penetrated the dead tree, forming hard rock. The resulting fossil is more dense and heavier than the wood of the original tree; this half alone weighs about 30 pounds! The smaller specimen is a horizontal slice of another palm. The slice cuts through the internal vessels of the plant and we can see the “dot” pattern common to all petrified palms.

When you’re out exploring keep your eyes open to the world around you. Boy Scout Eric Mills of Webelos Den 534 discovered this fossil near Dimebox. Petrified palm wood is often found in east Texas and along the Gulf Coast. It is the official state stone of Texas.