Selaginella in Cretaceous amber from Myanmar

2022 | journal article. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Selaginella in Cretaceous amber from Myanmar​
Schmidt, A. R. ; Korall, P.; Krings, M.; Weststrand, S.; Bergschneider, L.; Sadowski, E.-M.   & Bechteler, J. et al.​ (2022) 
Willdenowia52(2).​ DOI: 

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Schmidt, Alexander R. ; Korall, Petra; Krings, Michael; Weststrand, Stina; Bergschneider, Lena; Sadowski, Eva-Maria ; Bechteler, Julia; Rikkinen, Jouko; Regalado, Ledis 
Selaginella (Selaginellales, Selaginellaceae) is the most speciose genus of lycophytes and, with approximately 750 recognized present-day species, also one of the largest genera of vascular plants. However, the evolutionary history of this species richness remains largely unresolved. Recent research suggests that Selaginella was diverse already in the mid-Cretaceous and shows that S. subg. Stachygynandrum dates back at least to the incipient Angiosperm Terrestrial Revolution some 100 million years ago. Here, we describe 20 new fossil-species of Selaginella based on fertile shoots and spores preserved in mid-Cretaceous Kachin amber from Myanmar and emend the previously described S. cretacea. Ten of the species (S. ciliifera, S. cretacea, S. grimaldii, S. heterosporangiata, S. longifimbriata, S. minutissima, S. ohlhoffiorum, S. patrickmuelleri, S. villosa, S. wangxinii) represent S. subg. Stachygynandrum because they possess anisophyllous strobili. The other eleven species have isophyllous strobili. Two of them (S. isophylla, S. wunderlichiana) are tentatively assigned to S. subg. Ericetorum, whereas the others (S. amplexicaulis, S. aurita, S. heinrichsii, S. konijnenburgiae, S. obscura, S. ovoidea, S. pellucida, S. tomescui, S. wangboi) cannot be placed into any fossil or extant subgenus. The fossils described in this study nearly duplicate the documented record of free-sporing plants from Kachin amber. The abundance and diversity of cryptogams, along with the absence of xerophytes among the taxa, is suggestive of constantly high humidity in the understory of the source forests of this amber.
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Abteilung Geobiologie ; Geowissenschaftliches Zentrum ; Fakultät für Geowissenschaften und Geographie 



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