The Fossil Monocot Limnobiophyllum scutatum: Resolving the Phylogeny of Lemnaceae

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  • More than 200 specimens of Limnobiophyllum scutatum (Dawson) Krassilov have been recovered from lacustrine claystones in the Paleocene Paskapoo Formation near Red Deer, Alberta. The plant was a floating, aquatic angiosperm with helically arranged, ovate leaves attached in small rosettes. Rosettes are interconnected by stolons and bear simple adventitious roots as well as larger branching roots that appear to have vascular tissue. Leaves are pubescent, aerenchymatous, with 12– 14 campylodromous primary veins that curve toward the apex, joining a fimbrial vein, often an apical notch. Staminate flowers with two, four-loculate stamens, are borne in the axils of second leaves. Anthers contain monoporate, globose, echinate pollen, 20–25 mm in diameter. The pollen wall is 0.8 mm thick, with a homogeneous foot layer, granular to slightly columellate infratectal layer and an echinate tectum. Pollen most closely resembles the sporae dispersae genus Pandaniidites Elsik. The completeness of L. scutatum has allowed for its inclusion in a numerical cladistic analysis to resolve relationships among taxa of the Lemnaceae, Pistia, and selected genera of Araceae. Results of the analysis indicate that the Lemnaceae plus Pistia form a monophyletic group within the Araceae.

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    • Stockey, Ruth A., Hoffman, Georgia L. & Rothwell, Gar W. (1997). The Fossil Monocot Limnobiophyllum scutatum: Resolving the Phylogeny of Lemnaceae. American Journal of Botany , 84(3), pp. 355-368.