Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 262, Issue 3–4, pp 173–187 | Cite as

Angiosperm leaves associated with Sinocarpus infructescences from the Yixian Formation (mid-Early Cretaceous) of NE China

  • Q. LengEmail author
  • E. M. Friis


Typical angiosperm dicot leaves are discovered closely associated with reproductive organs of Sinocarpus decussatus from the Yixian Formation, NE China. Leaves are of first rank, small, with fine texture, and with distinct petiole and lamina. Venation pattern is craspedodromous, of at least three discrete orders of veins irregularly arranged. Leaf margin is serrate, with glandular teeth of chloranthoid type. The new Sinocarpus material is better preserved and more complete than the type specimen. It yields support for previous interpretations of reproductive characters and shows that the inflorescences were compound, perhaps combining alternate and opposite phyllotaxis, and that seeds were arranged in two rows, each row with about ten seeds. While these new reproductive characters do not provide further resolution to the systematic assignment of Sinocarpus, the associated leaves, believed to be from the same plant, support previous interpretation of Sinocarpus as a basal eudicot, and particularly close to Ranunculales.


Sinocarpus decussatus angiosperms Cretaceous leaves fossil Yixian Formation 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. APG (2003) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 141(4): 399–436.Google Scholar
  2. Brenner, G. J. 1963The spores and pollen of the Potomac Group of Maryland. Maryland Department of Geology, Mines and Water ResourcesBulletin271215Google Scholar
  3. Cao, Z.-Y. 2001Occurrence of Ruffordia and Nageiopsis from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of western Liaoning and its stratigraphic significanceActa Palaeontol. Sin.40214218Google Scholar
  4. Chang C.-C. (1980) Subphylum Angiospermae. In: Shenyang Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources (ed.) Paleontological Atlas of Northeast China, II. Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Geological Publishing House, Beijing, pp. 308–342 (in Chinese with English title).Google Scholar
  5. Chang, M.-M.Chen, P.-J.Wang, Y.-Q.Wang, Y. eds. 2003The Jehol Biota: The emergence of feathered dinosaurs, beaked birds and flowering plantsShanghai Scientific and Technical PublishersShanghaiGoogle Scholar
  6. Doyle, J. A. 1992Revised palynological correlations of the lower Potomac Group (USA) and the Cocobeach sequence of Gabon (Barremian-Aptian)Cret. Res.13337349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Doyle, J. A., Endress, P. K. 2000Morphological phylogenetic analysis of basal angiosperms: Comparison and combination with molecular dataInt. J. Pl. Sci.161S121S153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doyle, J. A., Hickey, L. J. 1976Pollen and leaves from the mid-Cretaceous Potomac Group and their bearing on early angiosperm evolutionBeck, C. B. eds. Origin and early evolution of angiospermsColumbia University PressNew York139206Google Scholar
  9. Drinnan, A. N., Chambers, T. C. 1986Flora of the Lower Cretaceous Koonwarra Fossil Bed (Korumburra Group), south Gippsland, VictoriaMem. Ass. Australas. Palaeontols.3177Google Scholar
  10. Eklund, H., Doyle, J. A., Herendeen, P. S. 2004Morphological phylogenetic analysis of living and fossil ChloranthaceaeInt. J. Pl. Sci.165107151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Friis, E. M., Doyle, J. A., Endress, P. K., Leng, Q. 2003 Archaefructus - angiosperm precursor or specialized early angiospermTrends Pl. Sci.8369373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friis, E. M., Pedersen, K. R., Crane, P. R. 2006Cretaceous angiosperm flowers: Innovation and evolution in plant reproductionPalaeogeogr. Palaeoclimatol. Palaeoecol.232251293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hickey, L. J. 1977Stratigraphy and paleobotany of the Golden Valley Formation (early Tertiary) of western North DakotaGeol. Soc. Amer. Mem.1501183Google Scholar
  14. Hickey, L. J. 1979A revised classification of the architecture of dicotyledonous leavesMetcalfe, C. R.Chalk, L. eds. Anatomy of the DicotyledonsClarendon PressOxford2539Google Scholar
  15. Hickey, L. J., Doyle, J. A. 1977Early Cretaceous fossil evidence for angiosperm evolutionBot. Rev.432104Google Scholar
  16. Hickey, L. J., Wolfe, J. A. 1975The base of angiosperm phylogeny: Vegetative morphologyAnn. Missouri Bot. Gard.62538589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hughes, N. F. 1994The enigma of angiosperm originsCambridge University PressCambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. Ji, Q., Li, H.-Q., Bowe, L. M., Liu, Y.-S., Taylor, D. W. 2004Early Cretaceous Archaefructus eoflora sp. nov. with bisexual flowers from Beipiao, western Liaoning, ChinaActa Geol. Sin. (English Edition)78883896Google Scholar
  19. Krassilov, V. A., Shilin, P. V., Vachrameev, V. A. 1983Cretaceous flowers from KazakhstanRev. Palaeobot. Palynol.4091113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Leng, Q., Friis, E. M. 2003 Sinocarpus decussatus gen. et sp. nov., a new angiosperm with basally syncarpous fruits from the Yixian Formation of Northeast ChinaPl. Syst. Evol.2417788CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leng, Q., Wu, S.-Q., Friis, E. M. 2003AngiospermsChang, M.-M.Chen, P.-J.Wang, Y.-Q.Wang, Y. eds. The Jehol Biota: The emergence of feathered dinosaurs, beaked birds and flowering plantsShanghai Scientific and Technical PublishersShanghai178185Google Scholar
  22. Li, H.-M. 2003Lower Cretaceous angiosperm leaf from Wuhe in Anhui, ChinaChin. Sci. Bull.48611614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Li, X.-X., Ye, M.-N., Zhou, Z.-Y. 1986Late Early Cretaceous flora from Shansong, Jiaohe, Jilin Province, Northeast ChinaPalaeontologia Cathayana31144Google Scholar
  24. Liu, Y.-S. 1997Fruits, seeds and angiospermous leaves from the Ping Chau Formation, Hong KongLee, C. M.Chen, J.-H.He, G.-X. eds. Stratigraphy and palaeontology of Hong Kong, IIScience PressBeijing6681(in Chinese)Google Scholar
  25. Mohr, B. A. R., Bernardes-de-Oliveira, M. E. C. 2004 Endressinia brasiliana, a magnolialean angiosperm from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation (Brazil)Int. J. Pl. Sci.16511211133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mohr, B. A. R., Eklund, H. 2003 Araripia florifera, a magnoliid angiosperm from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation (Brazil)Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol.126279292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mohr, B. A. R., Friis, E. M. 2000Early angiosperms from the Lower Cretaceous Crato Formation (Brazil), a preliminary reportInt. J. Pl. Sci.161S155S167CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ren, D., Lu, L.-W., Guo, Z.-G., Ji, S.-A. 1995Faunae and stratigraphy of Jurassic-Cretaceous in Beijing and the adjacent areasEarthquake Publishing HouseBeijingGoogle Scholar
  29. Sha, J.-G., Matsukawa, M., Cai, H.-W., Jiang, B.-Y., Ito, M., He, C.-Q., Gu, Z.-W. 2003The Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous of eastern Heilongjiang, Northeast China: Stratigraphy and regional basin historyCret. Res.24715728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Smith, P. E., Evensen, N. M., York, D., Chang, M.-M., Jin, F., Li, J.-L., Cumbaa, S., Russell, D. A. 1995Dates and rates in ancient lakes: 40Ar-39Ar evidence for an Early Cretaceous age for the Jehol Group, Northeast ChinaCanad. J. Earth Sci.3214261431Google Scholar
  31. Sun, G., Dilcher, D. L. 1996Early angiosperms from Lower Cretaceous of Jixi, China and their significance for study of the earliest occurrence of angiosperms in the worldPalaeobotanist45393399Google Scholar
  32. Sun, G., Dilcher, D. L. 1997Discovery of the oldest known angiosperm inflorescence in the world from Lower Cretaceous of Jixi, China Acta Palaeontol. Sin.36135142(in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  33. Sun, G., Dilcher, D. L. 2002Early angiosperms from the Lower Cretaceous of Jixi, eastern Heilongjiang, ChinaRev. Palaeobot. Palynol.12191112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sun, G., Dilcher, D. L., Zheng, S.-L., Zhou, Z.-K. 1998In search of the first flower: A Jurassic angiosperm, Archaefructus, from Northeast ChinaScience28216921695PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sun, G., Guo, S.-X., Zheng, S.-L., Piao, T.-Y., Sun, X.-K. 1993First discovery of the earliest angiospermous megafossils in the worldScience in China (Series B)36249256Google Scholar
  36. Sun, G., Ji, Q., Dilcher, D. L., Zheng, S.-L., Nixon, K. C., Wang, X.-F. 2002Archaefructaceae, a new basal angiosperm familyScience296899904PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sun, G., Zheng, S.-L., Dilcher, D. L., Wang, Y.-D., Mei, S.-W. 2001Early angiosperms and their associated plants from western Liaoning, ChinaShanghai Scientific and Technological Education Publishing HouseShanghaiGoogle Scholar
  38. Sun, G., Zheng, S.-L., Sun, C.-L., Sun, Y.-W., Mei, S.-W. 2003Recent advance on the study of Archaefructus with discussion on its geological ageJ. Jilin Univ. (Earth Science Edition)33393398Google Scholar
  39. Swisher, C. C.,III, Wang, X.-L., Zhou, Z.-H., Wang, Y.-Q., Jin, F., Zhang, J.-Y., Xu, X., Wang, Y. 2002Further support for a Cretaceous age for the feathered-dinosaur beds of Liaoning, China: New 40Ar/39Ar dating of the Yixian and Tuchengzi FormationsChin. Sci. Bull. (English Version)47135138Google Scholar
  40. Swisher, C. C.,III, Wang, Y.-Q., Wang, X.-L., Xu, X., Wang, Y. 1999Cretaceous age for the feathered dinosaurs of Liaoning, ChinaNature4005861CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Takhtajan, A. 1969Flowering plants, origin and dispersalOliver & BoydEdinburghGoogle Scholar
  42. Tao, J.-R., Zhang, C.-B. 1990Early Cretaceous angiosperms of the Yanji Basin, Jilin ProvinceActa Bot. Sin.32220229(in Chinese with English summary)Google Scholar
  43. Taylor, D. W., Hickey, L. J. 1990An Aptian plant with attached leaves and flowers: Implications for angiosperms originScience247702704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Upchurch G. R. (1984a) Cuticle evolution in Early Cretaceous angiosperms from the Potomac Group of Virginia and Maryland. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 71: 522–550.Google Scholar
  45. Upchurch G. R., Jr. (1984b) The cuticular anatomy of early angiosperm leaves from the Lower Cretaceous Potomac Group of Virginia and Maryland, Part 1, Zone 1 leaves. Amer. J. Bot. 71: 192–202.Google Scholar
  46. Vakhrameev, V. A. 1952Regional stratigraphy of the USSR, 1, Stratigraphy and fossil flora of the Cretaceous deposits in the western KazakhstanAkademia nauk SSSRMoscow, LeningradGoogle Scholar
  47. Vakhrameev, V. A., Krassilov, V. A. 1979Reproductive structures of angiosperms from the Albian of KazakhstanPaleont. Zh.1121128(in Russian)Google Scholar
  48. Wang, S.-S., Wang, Y.-Q., Hu, H.-G., Li, H.-M. 2001The existing time of Sihetun vertebrate in western Liaoning - evidence from U-Pb dating of zirconChin. Sci. Bull. (English Version)46779781Google Scholar
  49. Wang, X.-L., Kellner, A., Zhou, Z.-H., Campos, D. 2005Pterosaur diversity and faunal turnover in Cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems in ChinaNature437875879PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wang X.-L., Wang Y.-Q., Wang Y., Xu X., Tang Z.-L., Zhang F.-C., Hu Y.-M., Gu G., Hao Z.-L. (1998) Stratigraphic sequence and vertebratebearing beds of the lower part of the Yixian Formation, in Sihetun and neighboring area, western Liaoning, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 36: 81–99 (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  51. Wang X.-L., Wang Y.-Q., Zhang F.-C., Zhang J.-Y., Zhou Z.-H., Jin F., Hu Y.-M., Gu G., Zhang H.-C. (2000) Vertebrate biostratigraphy of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation in Lingyuan, western Liaoning and its neighboring southern Nei Mongol (Inner Mongolia), China.Vertebrata PalAsiatica 38: 81–99 (in Chinese with English abstract).Google Scholar
  52. Wu S.-Q. (1999) A preliminary study of the Jehol Flora from western Liaoning. Palaeoworld 11 (special issue on Jehol Biota): 7–57 (in Chinese with English title).Google Scholar
  53. Yang, X.-J. 2003New material of fossil plants from the Early Cretaceous Muling Formation of the Jixi Basin, eastern Heilongjiang Province, ChinaActa Palaeontol. Sin.42561584(in English with Chinese abstract)Google Scholar
  54. Zheng, S.-L., Zhang, Y. 1994Cretaceous plants from Songliao Basin, Northeast ChinaActa Palaeontol. Sin.33756764(in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  55. Zhou, Z.-H., Barrett, P. M., Hilton, J. 2003An exceptionally preserved Lower Cretaceous ecosystemNature421807814PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Zhou, Z.-Y., Li, H.-M., Cao, Z.-Y., Nau, P. S. 1990Some Cretaceous plants from Pingzhou (Ping Chau) Island, Hong KongActa Palaeontol. Sin.29415426(in Chinese with English summary)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LPS, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingThe People's Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of PalaeobotanySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations