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Speirseopteris orbiculata gen. et sp. nov. (Thelypteridaceae), a derived fossil filicalean from the Paleocene of western North America.

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • An apparently exindusiate filicalean fern with radial sori, sporangia with a vertical annulus, and monolete spores occurs in Paleocene sediments ca. 57 million years old of central Alberta, Canada. Specimens are preserved as coalified compressions and show features of frond morphology and venation, sporangium morphology and dehiscence mechanism, number of spores per sporangium, and spore fine structure. Fronds have a deltoid blade region and are pinnate þ pinnatifid, with fertile pinnules ranging to slightly smaller than vegetative pinnules and with simpler venation. Venation is open, with each lobe of the pinnatifid pinnule having a midvein from which laterals diverge in an alternate pattern. Laterals of vegetative pinnule lobes fork once and terminate at the margin, whereas those of fertile pinnule lobes are unbranched. Sori are round with numerous sporangia and are positioned under a vein. Each sporangium has a vertical annulus that is not interrupted by the stalk and produces ca. 64 spores. Spores are bean shaped and monolete, measuring 26– 36 mm long, with exospore that is dense and sculptured by minute scabrae. Perispore is not preserved. This fern, named Speirseopteris orbiculata gen. et sp. nov., displays characters that are diagnostic of the highly derived filicalean families and is assigned to the Thelypteridaceae. To a lesser extent, it also resembles the Dryopteridaceae, emphasizing that modern fern genera existed among many extinct genera during the late Cretaceous and Paleogene.

  • Date created
    2006
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R38Z9D
  • License
    Copyright 2006 by The University of Chicago
  • Language
  • Citation for previous publication
    • Stockey, R.A., T.C. Lantz and G.W. Rothwell. 2006. Speirseopteris orbiculata gen. et sp. nov. (Thelypteridaceae), a derived fossil filicalean from the Paleocene of western North America. Int. J. Plant Sci. 167: 729-736.