Eocene Green River Cardiospermum
Cardiospermum coloradensis
Green River Formation
Parachute Creek Member
Middle Eocene
Uintah County, Utah
This is a good example of the herbaceous vine. In general the impression from the upper Green River are highly variable in shape. They have rounded apices on the lobes and dissections of the leaflets. Fossil examples of Cardiospermum are much more coriaceous that that of living species as evidenced by the heavy deposit of carbon and marked relief seen in the Eocene deposits.
Today Cardiospermum is a genus of approximately 14 species in the soapberry family, Sapindaceae, which are native to the American, Indian, and African tropics. The genus name is derived from Greek words heart seed. Common names of the members of this genus include Balloon Vine, Love in a Puff, Heartseed, and Heartseed Vine. These plants are classified as invasive species in parts of the Southern United States and South Africa.