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Tertiary Ginkgo Ovulate Organs with Associated Leaves from North Dakota, U.S.A., and Their Evolutionary Significance
Zhiyan Zhou, Cheng Quan and Yu-Sheng (Christopher) Liu
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Vol. 173, No. 1 (January 2012), pp. 67-80
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662651
Page Count: 14
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The evolutionary history of Ginkgo is poorly understood for the Cenozoic Era because of the rarity of fossil reproductive organs. We here describe a new species, Ginkgo cranei sp. nov., on the basis of well-preserved ovulate organs and associated leaves from the Upper Paleocene Sentinel Butte Formation of North Dakota, USA. The ovulate organ is of the modern type, which lacks a pedicel supporting each of the two ovules. The ovules are seated in separate collars directly attached to the peduncle, but only one of them is mature. Stomatal complexes are mostly amphicyclic, with deeply sunken guard cells and slightly raised subsidiary cells. They are sparsely distributed among epidermal cells characterized by domelike, strongly bulging periclinal walls and developed anticlinal wall flanges in integument and collar cuticles. The associated leaves are generally similar to the ovulate organ in cuticular structure. Ginkgo cranei is the only Tertiary species of the genus described in which the ovulate organs are studied in some detail. The study further corroborates the hypothesis that modern Ginkgo evolved from its ancestors by reduction and is helpful to classify Cenozoic ginkgos in a natural system.
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