Anatomy of cheirolepidiaceous pollen cones; Classostrobus crossii sp. nov

GW Rothwell, G Mapes, Jason Hilton, Neville Hollingworth

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Discovery of a permineralized fossil cone in Mesozoic deposits of southern England provides an opportunity to document the first detailed evidence of internal pollen cone anatomy for the extinct conifer family Cheirolepidiaccae. The specimen, described here as Classostrobus crossii sp. nov., occurs in a calcareous nodule recovered from Middle Jurassic marine sediments of the Lower Callovian Sigaloceras calloviense biozone, Kellaways, near Cirencester, England. The cone is 2.0 cm long and 1.8 cm wide. Sporophylls diverge helically from the axis. Each sporophyll displays a narrow stalk and a distal lamina approx. 11 mm long that tapers to a pointed tip. There is also a basal keel that bends inward at the bottom and sides to form a shallow pocket. A single vascular bundle diverges from the cone axis, extends distally into the sporophyll stalk at the contact of two distinctly different histological zones, and further expands into the distal lamina as transfusion tracheids. Several pollen sacs are attached abaxially at the juncture of the sporophyll stalk and keel. Pollen is roughly spheroidal, 26-35 mu m in diameter, with unequal polar caps separated by a striated belt with a subequatorial furrow. This specimen helps clarify the range of variation in the morphology of Mesozoic conifer pollen cones. (C) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 55-67
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


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