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Virginianthus calycanthoides gen. et sp. nov.-A Calycanthaceous Flower from the Potomac Group (Early Cretaceous) of Eastern North America
Else Marie Friis, Helena Eklund, Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen and Peter R. Crane
International Journal of Plant Sciences
Vol. 155, No. 6 (Nov., 1994), pp. 772-785
Published by: The University of Chicago Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2475338
Page Count: 14
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We describe a new well-preserved fossil flower, Virginianthus calycanthoides gen. et sp. nov., from the Early Cretaceous (Early or Middle Albian) of Virginia. The flower is multipartite and has a distinct, deep floral cup. The perianth and androecium are borne on the rim of the floral cup and arranged in several crowded series. Reconstruction of the flower indicates that the perianth is composed of about 12 closely spaced tepals with apically directed hairs on the abaxial surface. The androecium consists of approximately 30-40 closely spaced, sessile stamens. The anthers are dithecate and tetrasporangiate, with the pollen sacs borne toward the abaxial surface. Dehiscence is extrorse through laterally hinged valves. Pollen grains are monocolpate and reticulate and resemble the previously described pollen species Clavatipollenites minutus Brenner. Sterile structures in the transition zone between androecium and gynoecium are interpreted as inner staminodes. The gynoecium is composed of approximately 18-26 carpels borne in several series on the inner surface of the hypanthium. The flower is closely comparable to extant members of the family Calycanthaceae (including Idiospermum) and constitutes the earliest documentation of calycanthoid features in the fossil record. Differences from extant Calycanthaceae are mainly in details of the pollen sacs, anther dehiscence, and pollen morphology.
International Journal of Plant Sciences © 1994 The University of Chicago Press