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Evidence for sympodial vascular architecture in a filicalean fern rhizome: Dickwhitea allenbyensis gen. et sp. nov. (Athyriaceae).

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • A new genus and species of anatomically preserved fossil filicalean ferns Dickwhitea allenbyensis gen. et sp. nov. is described from the Middle Eocene Princeton Chert of southern British Columbia, Canada. Rhizomes have a parenchymatous pith surrounded by a ring of five amphiphloic cauline bundles and pairs of frond traces that diverge from adjacent cauline bundles in a 2/5 phyllotaxis. The cortex is also parenchymatous except at the periphery, where there is a well-developed sclerotic hypodermis. The stipe is characterized by a pair of hippocampiform bundles, and ground tissues are similar to those of the rhizome. Prominent nests of large cells with black contents occur adjacent to the vascular bundles in the ground tissue of the rhizome and stipe. Roots are diarch with cortex that grades from parenchymatous at the interior to sclerotic at the periphery. The vascular architecture of this fern appears to be novel among known Filicales. There are no gaps in the stele that result from the divergence of either frond or root traces, and there is no evidence that cauline bundles anastomose. Rather, the cauline bundles extend through the rhizome independently of each other, with each cauline bundle producing successive frond traces on alternating tangents. Root traces diverge from the outer surface of cauline bundles as is characteristic of solenostelic filicalean species and dictyostelic tree ferns. Examination of the literature reveals that there is a wide range of variation in filicalean vascular architectures that traditionally has not been recognized. Although there is anecdotal evidence that this newly recognized stelar variation is correlated with patterns of systematic diversity, the overall phylogenetic significance of fern vascular architecture has yet to be fully explored.

  • Date created
    2006
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3VH5CM47
  • License
    Copyright 2006 by The University of Chicago
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Karafit, S.J., G.W. Rothwell, R.A. Stockey and H. Nishida. 2006. Evidence for sympodial vascular architecture in a filicalean fern rhizome: Dickwhitea allenbyensis gen. et sp. nov. (Athyriaceae). Int. J. Plant Sci. 167: 721-727.