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Appomattoxia ancistrophora gen. et sp. nov., a New Early Cretaceous Plant with Similarities to Circaeaster and Extant Magnoliidae

Else Marie Friis, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen and Peter R. Crane
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 82, No. 7 (Jul., 1995), pp. 933-943
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2445980
Page Count: 11
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Appomattoxia ancistrophora gen. et sp. nov., a New Early Cretaceous Plant with Similarities to Circaeaster and Extant Magnoliidae
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Abstract

A new genus and species of fossil angiosperm (Appomattoxia ancistrophora) is established based on well-preserved fruiting units and associated pollen from the Early Cretaceous (Early or Middle Albian) Puddledock locality in the Potomac Group sequence of Virginia, eastern North America. Fruiting units are small, unilocular, and with a single, pendulous, orthotropous seed. The fruit surface is characterized by densely spaced unicellular spines with hooklike tips, which probably functioned in biotic dispersal. Pollen grains adhering to the stigmatic area of many specimens are monocolpate and tectate with granular to columellate infratectal structure, and are similar to dispersed grains assigned to Tucanopollis and Transitoripollis. Comparison of fossil Appomattoxia ancistrophora with extant plants reveals an unusual combination of characters that includes similarities with some magnoliid taxa, particularly Piperales (Piperaceae, Saururaceae) and Laurales (Chloranthaceae), as well as the monotypic ranunculid family Circaeasteraceae. Appomattoxia ancistrophora differs from extant Piperales in having a pendulous rather than erect ovule, and differs from extant Circaeaster in details of the fruit wall, as well as the presence of monosulcate rather than tricolpate pollen.

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