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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Smith, Selena Y. [1], Stockey, Ruth A. [1].

Fossil perianthless Piperales: a saururaceous inflorescence and flowers with in situ pollen from the Princeton Chert.

NUMEROUS well-preserved flowers, an inflorescence, and fruits have been found in the Middle Eocene (Allenby Formation) Princeton Chert of British Columbia. Plant remains are studied using the cellulose acetate peel technique modified for hydrofluoric acid. Fossil and extant pollen was examined using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Flowers are ca. 1 mm in diam and arranged in a raceme. Flowers are pedicellate, subtended by a cup-shaped bract and lack perianth. Five stamens with tetrathecal, latrorse anthers are adnate to the base of the carpels. Pollen is minute, sparsely to densely punctate/perforate, boat-shaped-elliptic and anasulcate with granula in the sulcus. The four carpels are basally connate, have a rugose surface, and taper towards the apex ending in a recurved style. There is a single seed per carpel. Ovules are attached marginally, near the base of the carpel, and have a thin integument. Fruits are ca. 1 mm when mature, bilobed, with spongy parenchyma in the fruit wall. In situ pollen firmly places the fossil remains in the lizardís-tail family, Saururaceae (Piperales). Flower structure and details of the inflorescence are most similar to the genus Saururus. These fossils provide a biogeographic link between eastern North American and Asian Saururus, and represent the oldest fossils, first North American and first pollen record for the family.

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1 - University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences, Biological Sciences Centre, Cw 405, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada

Fossil Flowers
Middle Eocene
Princeton Chert.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 17-10
Location: 266/Holt
Date: Monday, July 31st, 2006
Time: 3:45 PM
Abstract ID:585

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