Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 57, Issue 6, pp 569–572 | Cite as

Occurrence of Sciadopitys-like fossil wood (Coniferales) in the Jurassic of western Liaoning and its evolutionary implications

  • ZiKun Jiang
  • YongDong Wang
  • ShaoLin Zheng
  • Wu Zhang
  • Ning Tian
Open Access
Letter Geology


The genus Sciadopitys, containing a single species (S. verticillata), is the only extant representative of the Family Sciadopityaceae (Coniferales), and is a remarkable living fossil. Although some leafy fossils have been ascribed to Sciadopityaceae, fossil xylem material with a close affinity to this family is very rare, and there have been no fossils found showing both pith and primary xylem structures, which are of great importance for wood identification. Thus, it has been difficult to use fossils for the understanding of wood anatomy evolution in the sciadopityaceous plants over geological time. In this note we briefly report on Sciadopitys-like fossil wood found in the Middle Jurassic of western Liaoning, which bears well-preserved Protosciadopityoxylon-type secondary xylem, endarch primary xylem and heterogeneous pith. This is the first report of fossil specimens of the Sciadopityaceae with such detailed preservation of wood structures. The discovery provides precise anatomical evidence for reconstructing the evolutionary history and geographical distribution of Sciadopityaceae, as well as contributing to understanding of the fossil diversity of the Jurassic Yanliao Flora in northern China.


conifer Sciadopityaceae anatomical structure Tiaojishan Formation Middle Jurassic western Liaoning 


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© The Author(s) 2011

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • ZiKun Jiang
    • 1
    • 3
  • YongDong Wang
    • 1
  • ShaoLin Zheng
    • 2
    • 4
  • Wu Zhang
    • 2
  • Ning Tian
    • 4
  1. 1.Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Shenyang Center of China Geological SurveyShenyang Institute of Geology and Mineral ResourcesShenyangChina
  3. 3.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.Institute of PalaeontologyShenyang Normal UniversityShenyangChina

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