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Establishing a fossil record for the perianthless Piperales: Saururus tuckerae sp. nov. (Saururaceae) from the Middle Eocene Princeton Chert

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • Investigations of small permineralized flowers from the Middle Eocene Princeton Chert, British Columbia, Canada have revealed that they represent an extinct species of Saururus. Over 100 flowers and one partial inflorescence were studied, and numerous minute perianthless flowers are borne in an indeterminate raceme. Each flower is subtended by a bract, and flowers and bracts are borne at the end of a common stalk. Five stamens are basally adnate to the carpels. Pollen is frequently found in situ in the anthers. Examined under SEM and TEM, pollen grains are minute (6–11 lm), monosulcate, boat-shaped-elliptic, with punctate sculpturing and a granulate aperture membrane. The gynoecium is composed of four basally connate, lobed carpels with recurved styles and a single ovule per carpel. Flower structure and pollen are indicative of Saururaceae (Piperales), and in phylogenetic analyses using morphological characters, the fossils are sister to extant Saururus. The fossil flowers are described here as Saururus tuckerae sp. nov. These fossil specimens add to the otherwise sparse fossil record of Piperales, represent the oldest fossils of Saururaceae as well as the first North American fossil specimens of this family, and provide the first evidence of saururaceous pollen in the fossil record.

  • Date created
    2007
  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Type of Item
    Article (Published)
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3901ZS5B
  • License
    This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Smith, S.Y. and R.A. Stockey. 2007. Establishing a fossil record for the perianthless Piperales: Saururus tuckerae sp. nov. (Saururaceae) from the Middle Eocene Princeton Chert. Amer. J. Bot. 94: 1642-1657. DOI: 10.3732/ajb.94.10.1642