The Botanical Review

, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 156–202 | Cite as

Phylogenetic Analyses of Cretaceous Fossils Related to Chloranthaceae and their Evolutionary Implications

  • James A. Doyle
  • Peter K. Endress


Chloranthaceae were one of the first common lines during the early radiation of angiosperms, possibly reflecting adaptation to more open habitats. Phylogenetic analyses clarify the position of Cretaceous mesofossils in molecular trees of Recent taxa. Plants that produced Asteropollis pollen, with tepals adnate to a single carpel, are nested in crown group Chloranthaceae with Hedyosmum; Canrightiopsis, with three stamens and no perianth, is sister to Sarcandra and Chloranthus; and Canrightia is a stem relative that illustrates a still bisexual stage in floral reduction. Plants that produced Pennipollis pollen are related to Chloranthaceae and/or Ceratophyllum rather than monocots. Appomattoxia, which produced Tucanopollis pollen, has equivocal affinities, but Pseudoasterophyllites, with similar pollen and stems with reduced leaves, may be a link between Chloranthaceae and Ceratophyllum. These results imply that flowers became unisexual before losing the perianth, while bisexual flowers in Canrightiopsis, Sarcandra, and Chloranthus are secondarily derived from unisexual flowers.


Angiosperms Chloranthaceae Cretaceous Paleobotany Phylogeny Evolution 



We thank Alejandra Gandolfo and Elizabeth Hermsen for inviting us to present a talk at the International Palaeontology Congress in Mendoza, Argentina (2014), on which this paper is based; Cuong Nguyen for hosting JAD at Cuc Phuong National Park; Paulo Schwirkowski for providing a photograph of Hedyosmum brasiliense; and two anonymous reviewers for useful comments on the manuscript.


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© The New York Botanical Garden 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Evolution and EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Systematic and Evolutionary BotanyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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