, Volume 101, Issue 8, pp 615–622 | Cite as

Cosmosperma polyloba gen. et sp. nov., a seed plant from the Upper Devonian of South China

  • Deming Wang
  • Le Liu
  • Meicen Meng
  • Jinzhuang Xue
  • Tuo Liu
  • Yun Guo
Original Paper


Seed plants with ovules were abundant in the Late Devonian of Euramerica and they contribute significantly to our understanding of their early history. However, coeval ovules have been scarce in other regions of the world. Specimens of the seed plant Cosmosperma polyloba gen. et sp. nov. Wang et al. were recently obtained from the Upper Devonian (Famennian) Wutong Formation, at Fanwan Village, Changxing County, Zhejiang Province, China. This new seed plant has cupulate ovules, the uniovulate cupules with up to 16 distal segments and with minute spines on the outer surface, synangiate pollen organs bearing six to eight microsporangia fused only at the base, and planate and highly dissected pinnules in alternate arrangement. It differs from other Devonian seed plants mainly in the organization and position of the uniovulate and ornamented cupule, and in the highly dissected pinnules. Cosmosperma Wang et al. represents the first Devonian ovules recovered from China or eastern Asia and further illustrates the diversity of early spermatophytes. As for the Late Devonian seed plants, it is suggested that the pollen organs are synangiate and simple in organization, and the branches and leaves are generally planate.


Cosmosperma Late Devonian Ovule Pinnule Pollen organ Seed plant 



The authors thank Qi D-L (Anhui Geological Survey, Hefei) and Xiong C-H (Peking University) for much help in fieldwork and James Basinger (University of Saskatchewan) for his invaluable advice. This work is supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41172007) and the National Basic Research Program of China (2012CB821900) of the Ministry of Science and Technology of China.


  1. Beck CB, Wight DC (1988) Progymnosperms. In: Beck CB (ed) Origin and evolution of gymnosperms. Columbia University Press, New York, pp1-84Google Scholar
  2. Chaloner WG, Hill JA, Lacey WS (1977) First Devonian platyspermic seed and its implications in gymnosperm evolution. Nature 265:233–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cressler WL, Prestianni C, LePage BA (2010) Late Devonian spermatophyte diversity and paleoecology at Red Hill, north-central Pennsylvania, USA. Int J Coal Geol 83:91–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Fairon-Demaret M (1996) Dorinnotheca streelii Fairon-Demaret, gen. et sp. nov., a new early seed plant from the upper Famennian of Belgium. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 93:217–233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Fairon-Demaret M, Scheckler SE (1987) Typification and redescription of Moresnetia zalesskyi Stockmans, 1948, an early seed plant from the Upper Famennian of Belgium. Bull Inst R Sci Nat Belg Sci Terre 57:183–199Google Scholar
  6. Galtier J (2010) The origins and early evolution of the megaphyllous leaf. Int J Plant Sci 171:641–661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gerrienne P, Meyer-Berthaud B, Fairon-Demaret M, Streel M, Steemans P (2004) Runcaria, a Middle Devonian seed plant precursor. Science 306:856–858PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hao S-G, Gensel PG (1995) A new genus and species, Celatheca beckii, from the Siegenian (Early Devonian) of southeastern Yunnan, China. Int J Plant Sci 156:896–909CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hao S-G, Xue J-Z (2013a) The Early Devonian Posongchong flora of Yunnan—a contribution to an understanding of the evolution and early diversification of vascular plants. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  10. Hao S-G, Xue J-Z (2013b) Earliest record of megaphylls and leafy structures, and their initial diversification. Chin Sci Bull 58:2784–2793CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hilton J (1999) Late Devonian plant assemblage from the Avon Gorge, west England: taxonomic, phylogenetic and stratigraphic implications. Bot J Linn Soc 129:1–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hilton J (2006) Cupulate seed plants from the Upper Devonian Upper Old Red Sandstone at Taffs Well, South Wales. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 142:137–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hilton J, Edwards D (1996) A new Late Devonian acupulate preovule from the Taff Gorge, South Wales. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 93:235–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Jennings JR (1976) The morphology and relationships of Rhodea, Telangium, Telangiopsis, and Heterangium. Amer J Bot 63:1119–1133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Klavins SD, Matten LC (1996) Reconstruction of the frond of Laceya hibernica, a lyginopterid pteridosperm from the uppermost Devonian of Ireland. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 93:253–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Li X-X, Cai C-Y, Ouyang S (1984) Recent advances in the study of the Wutong Formation of the Lower Yangtze Valley. Bull Chin Acad Geol Sci 9:119–136Google Scholar
  17. Matten LC, Fine TI (1994) Telangium schweitzeri sp. nov.: a gymnosperm pollen organ from the Upper Devonian of Ireland. Palaeontogr Abt B 232:15–33Google Scholar
  18. May BI, Matten LC (1983) A probable pteridosperm from the uppermost Devonian near Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry, Ireland. Bot J Linn Soc 86:103–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meyer-Berthaud B (1989) First gymnosperm fructifications with trilete prepollen. Palaeontogr Abt B 211:87–112Google Scholar
  20. Millay MA, Taylor TN (1979) Paleozoic seed fern pollen organs. Bot Rev 45:301–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Oliver FW, Scott DH (1905) On the structure of the Palaeozoic seed Lagenostoma lomaxi, with a statement of the evidence upon which it is referred to Lyginodendron. Phil Trans R Soc London B 197:193–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pettitt JM, Beck CB (1967) Seed from the Upper Devonian. Science 156:1727–1729PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Pettitt JM, Beck CB (1968) Archaeosperma arnoldii—a cupulate seed from the Upper Devonian of North America. Contrib Mus Paleontol Univ Michigan 22:139–154Google Scholar
  24. Prestianni C, Gerrienne P (2006) Lectotypification of the Famennian pre-ovule Condrusia rumex Stockmans, 1948. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 142:161–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Prestianni C, Decombeix A, Thorez J, Fokan D, Gerrienne P (2010) Famennian charcoal of Belgium. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 291:60–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Prestianni C, Hilton J, Cressler W (2013) Were all Devonian seeds cupulate? A reinvestigation of Pseudosporogonites hallei, Xenotheca bertrandii, and Aglosperma spp. Int J Plant Sci 174:832–851CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rothwell GW, Scheckler SE (1988) Biology of ancestral gymnosperms. In: Beck CB (ed) Origin and evolution of gymnosperms. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 85–134Google Scholar
  28. Rothwell GW, Wight D (1989) Pullaritheca longii gen. nov. and Kerryia mattenii gen. et sp. nov., Lower Carboniferous cupules with ovules of the Hydrasperma tenuis-type. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 60:295–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Rothwell GW, Scheckler SE, Gillespie WH (1989) Elkinsia gen. nov., a Late Devonian gymnosperm with cupulate ovules. Bot Gaz 150:170–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rowe NP (1997) Late Devonian winged preovules and their implications for the adaptive radiation of early seed plants. Palaeontology 40:575–595Google Scholar
  31. Rowe NP, Galtier J (1990) A Lower Carboniferous plant assemblage from La Serre (Montagne Noire, France). Part II. Gymnosperms. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 63:91–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schweitzer HJ, Matten LC (1982) Aneurophyton germanicum and Protopteridium thomsonii from the Middle Devonian of Germany. Palaeontogr Abt B 184:65–106Google Scholar
  33. Scheckler SE, Banks HP (1971a) Anatomy and relationships of some Devonian progymnosperms from New York. Amer J Bot 58:737–751Google Scholar
  34. Scheckler SE, Banks HP (1971b) Proteokalon, a new genus of progymnosperms from the Devonian of New York State and its bearing on phylogenetic trends in the group. Amer J Bot 58:874–884Google Scholar
  35. Serbet R, Rothwell GW (1992) Characterizing the most primitive seed ferns. I. A reconstruction of Elkinsia polymorpha. Int J Plant Sci 153:602–621CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stockmans F (1948) Végétaux du Dévonien Supérieur de la Belgique. Mém Mus R Hist Nat Belg 110:1–85Google Scholar
  37. Taylor TN, Taylor EL, Krings M (2009) Paleobotany: the biology and evolution of fossil plants, 2nd edn. Academic Press, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang D-M, Meng M-C, Xue J-Z, Basinger JF, Guo Y, Liu L (2014) Changxingia longifolia gen. et sp. nov., a new lycopsid from the Late Devonian of Zhejiang Province, South China. Rev Palaeobot Palynol 203:35–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang Y (2000) Kongshania gen. nov. A new plant from the Wutung Formation (Upper Devonian) of Jiangning County, Jiangsu, China. Acta Palaeontol Sin 39:42–56Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Deming Wang
    • 1
  • Le Liu
    • 1
  • Meicen Meng
    • 2
  • Jinzhuang Xue
    • 1
  • Tuo Liu
    • 1
  • Yun Guo
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Orogenic Belts and Crustal Evolution, Department of GeologyPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyChinese Academy of Geological SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Geology, School of Resource Environment and Earth ScienceYunnan UniversityKunmingChina

Personalised recommendations