An early record of a vesselless angiosperm from the middle Cenomanian of the Envigne valley (Vienne, Western France)

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Thousands of silicified wood fragments were recently collected from the middle Cenomanian of Vienne in western France at less than 10 km away from a historical locality where in 1870 the French geologist Alphonse Le Touzé de Longuemar reported silicified wood. The plant assemblage is very diverse, and includes several species of ferns, conifers, and angiosperms. We describe and discuss the systematic affinities of a new vesselless angiosperm. Many of its characters are shared by extant and fossil Winteraceae. Nevertheless, the absence of uniseriate rays makes the anatomy of these specimens unique. Its combination of characters justifies the establishment of a new genus of vesselless fossil angiosperm wood of uncertain affinity, Sherwinoxylon gen. nov.

An early record of a vesselless angiosperm from the middle Cenomanian of the Envigne valley (Vienne, Western France)

in IAWA Journal



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    Occurrence of vesselless wood in angiosperms. Blue circle = homoxylous or vesselless, black circle = heteroxylous or vessel-bearing. Modified from Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2016).

  • View in gallery

    – 2: Map of France showing the Vienne department (outline in red), the type locality, Scorbé Clairvaux, is included in the red rectangle. The area represented by this rectangle is magnified in 4. – 3: Two fossil wood samples, a = UP.SCF.17.004, b = UP.SCF.17.007. Scale bars = 3 cm. Multiseriate rays are visible to the naked eye. – 4: Simplified geologic map showing the two new localities: Fouilloux (type locality, Scorbé-Clairvaux) and ‘La Maison Neuve’ (Colombiers) are illustrated by red stars. Jaunay-Marigny represents the historical locality where in 1870 the French geologist A. Le Touzé de Longuemar has reported for the first time silicified wood. Modified from Médioni et al. (1974) and Bourgueil et al. (1976). – 5: Stratigraphic column modified after Gabilly & Cariou (1997): A, claystones and white sandstones of Vierzon (lower Cenomanian); B, green sandstones and C, sandy-claystones of La Pallu (middle Cenomanian); D, plastic claystones and white marlstones with oysters (upper Cenomanian); E, clayey limestones and chalkstones with Inoceramus labiatus (lower Turonian); F, white tufa (micaceous glauconitic chalk, middle Turonian); G–H, altered yellow tufa and clayey sandstones with silicified nodules with plants (Gomez et al. 2019) (upper Turonian). Studied wood remains were collected from the green sandstones and claystones of La Pallu (indicated in B).

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    Transverse sections of Sherwinoxylon winteroides Boura & Saulnier, sp. nov. – 6: Parenchymatous pith, UP/SCF.17.007. – 7, 8: Homoxylous wood with broad rays, axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (arrowheads), UP/SCF.17.005. – 9, 10: Thick-walled tracheids; note the indistinct growth rings (arrowheads) marked by 1–3 rows of flattened tracheids with thickened walls, UP/SCF.17.004. – 11: Axial parenchyma diffuse-in-aggregates (arrowheads), UP/SCF. 17.003. – Scale bar 6 = 1 mm, 7 = 2 mm, 8 = 500 μm, 9 & 10 = 250 μm, 11 = 100 μm.

  • View in gallery

    Longitudinal sections of Sherwinoxylon winteroides Boura & Saulnier, sp. nov. – 12 & 13: TLS, exclusively multiseriate rays, UP/SCF.17.004 (12) & UP/SCF.17.003 (13). – 14: TLS, bordered pits in tangential walls of tracheids, UP/SCF.17.003. – 15 & 16: RLS, circular to elliptical often contiguous bordered pits, UP/SCF.17.004. – 17: RLS, rays composed of square cells, with several rows of upright marginal cells, UP/SCF.17.006. – 18: RLS, thick-walled ray cells with simple to weakly bordered pits (funnel-shaped in section), UP/SCF.17.005. – 19: RLS, ray cell pitting, UP/SCF.17.006. – Scale bar 12 = 2 mm, 17 = 500 μm, 13 = 250 μm, 14, 18, 19 = 100 μm, 15, 16 = 50 μm.

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