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Dendrites: mini still life in stone

Dendrites can fool you

Dendrites look just like fossilized plant matter.  However, they are mineral formations, not plant fossils — and one of my favorite mineral formations!  The word dendrite comes from the Greek word dendron, meaning tree, and also describes the branched projections of a nerve cell.

A dendrite is a superficial deposit of manganese oxide that has crystallized in a multi-branching tree-like pattern.  This pattern is what fools us into thinking they are plant fossils.  Dendrites form as water rich in manganese and iron flows along tiny cracks between layers of limestone and other rock types.  Dendrites may also consist of iron oxides and other minerals, and can also form in quartz materials like agate and jasper. When it is found in agate and opal, it is called “dendritic agate” and “dendritic opal.”

Metaphysically, stones with dendrites resonate with blood vessels and nerves.  They help heal the nervous system and conditions such as neurdendrites from Germanyalgia. Dendrites can help with skeletal disorders, reverse capillary degeneration and stimulate the circulatory system.  It is the stone of plenitude; it also helps create a peaceful environment and encourage the enjoyment of each moment.  Dendrites deepen your connection to the earth and can bring stability in times of strife or confusion.

We have some beautiful dendrite specimens of dendrites in marl (calcareous mudstone), a sedimentary rock from Solenhofen, Germany that are 160 million years old.  Each piece is different, a mini still life in stone:  framed silhouettes of  trees, ferns, seaweeds, and bushes.  These dendrites are a great gift for anyone with a green thumb or who has a strong connection to nature.

6 thoughts on “Dendrites: mini still life in stone

  1. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My website is in the exact same area of interest as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Appreciate it!

    1. You may quote some of the articles as long as you link back to the original article. Thank you for asking!

  2. […] had found these really great dendrites and they just screamed prairie gunfight to me. I cut an old patinaed bullet casing in half to […]

  3. How old.are dendrite fossils. ? I’ve found many here in Newfoundland and was curious of the age of them

    1. That is a really good question and you would need to date them based on the rock they are found within. They actually aren’t even fossils at all; rather they are a mineral formation made from various manganese and iron compounds.

  4. […] learn more about dendrites, click here to read one of our older blog posts. Find out how they trick people and how they’re formed. Our […]

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