A specialized new species of Ashicaulis (Osmundaceae, Filicales) from the Jurassic of Liaoning, NE China

Abstract

A new species of structurally preserved fern rhizome, Ashicaulis plumites (Osmundaceae, Filicales), is described from the Middle Jurassic Tiaojishan Formation in western Liaoning Province, NE China. The new species is characterized by a peculiar sclerenchyma mass in the petiolar vascular bundle concavity. This sclerenchyma mass varies from a linear-shape to a mushroom-like shape with a remarkable outward protuberance, which distinguishes the present new species from other Ashicaulis species. Such a protuberance is very rare among osmundaceous ferns, and should represent a unique type for sclerenchymatous tissue in the osmundaceous vascular bundle concavity. Recognition of the peculiar structure of this new fossil species enriches anatomical diversity of permineralized osmundaceous ferns, indicating that the family Osmundaceae might have experienced a remarkable diversification during the Middle Jurassic in NE China. The new species show anatomical similarities to Osmunda pluma Miller from the Palaeocene of North America. The occurrence of A. plumites in the Middle Jurassic of China provides a new clue for understanding the evolution of some members of the living subgenus Osmunda.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Prof. Shaolin Zheng (Shenyang Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources, Ministry of Land and Resources, Shenyang, China) for his support in field collection and specimen analysis. Special appreciate is due to Prof. R. Herbst (Instituto Superior de Geología Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Cientificasy Técnicas, Argentina) and Dr. E.I. Vera (División Paleobotánica, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”, Buenos Aires, Argentina) for providing references. We thank Prof. Harufumi Nishida (Chuo University, Japan) and other two reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions of the manuscript. This study is jointly supported by the State Key Programme (973 project) of Basic Research of Ministry of Science and Technology, China (2012CB822003); the National Natural Sciences Foundation of China (NSFC 41272010, 41302004 and 40972008), the Team Program of Scientific Innovation and Interdisciplinary Cooperation of CAS; the State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS) (No. 133113); the Science Research Project of Liaoning Provincial Education Department (L2012391) and the Doctoral Fund of Shenyang Normal University.

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Correspondence to Yong-Dong Wang.

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Tian, N., Wang, YD., Philippe, M. et al. A specialized new species of Ashicaulis (Osmundaceae, Filicales) from the Jurassic of Liaoning, NE China. J Plant Res 127, 209–219 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-013-0611-1

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Keywords

  • Ashicaulis
  • Osmundaceae
  • Middle Jurassic
  • Western Liaoning
  • China
  • Evolution