Reconstructing Emporia Lockardii (Voltziales:Emporiaceae) and Initial Thoughts on Paleozoic Conifer Ecology

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  • A new plant concept for the extinct conifer species Emporia lockardii (Mapes&Rothwell) Mapes&Rothwell (Emporiaceae) is developed from fossils collected at the Late Pennsylvanian Hamilton Quarry, Kansas. Emporia lockardii has lateral plagiotropic branches with simple and forked leaves, simple pollen cones, and compound ovulate cones. Stems have an endarch eustele with dense wood surrounding a septate pith. Leaves display position-dependent heterophylly with forked leaves on penultimate shoots and simple leaves on ultimate shoots. All leaves are amphistomatic with two stomatal bands and papillate epidermal cells on the adaxial surface and two basal stomatal bands and numerous trichome bases on the abaxial surface. Pollen cones are simple and have helically arranged microsporophylls and adaxial pollen sacs. Prepollen is monolete and monosaccate, and it conforms to the sporae dispersae genus Potonieisporites Bharadwaj. Ovulate cones are compound with helically arranged, forked bracts that subtend bilaterally symmetrical, axillary dwarf shoots with one to three narrow megasporophylls interspersed among numerous sterile scales. Ovules are terminal, inverted, and bilaterally symmetrical. This new reconstruction together with additional conifer reconstructions from the Hamilton Quarry locality indicate that the genus Emporia has a particularly high species diversity for walchian conifers. These findings support previous hypotheses that propose drier habitats as sites for the first appearances of plants that become dominant during the late Permian and Mesozoic.

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    Article (Published)
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    Copyright 2009 by The University of Chicago
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    • Hernandez-Castillo, G.R., R.A. Stockey, G.W. Rothwell and G. Mapes. 2009. RECONSTRUCTING EMPORIA LOCKARDII (VOLTZIALES: EMPORIACEAE) AND INITIAL THOUGHTS ON PALEOZOIC CONIFER ECOLOGY. International Journal of Plant Sciences 170: 1056-1074.