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1 October 2014 Floristics and Paleoecology of an Early Cretaceous Flora from Jordan
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Abundant plant fossils were recovered from Albian fluvial and back-swamp sediments of the Jarash Formation (Kurnub Group) of Jordan. The flora consists of angiosperms, ferns and gymnosperms. Water lily Scutifolium jordanicum, marsilealean fern Marsileaceaephyllum mahisensis and tree fern Weichselia reticulata are from a thin crevasse splay layer of a small fluvial system. Four species of other ferns, Phlebopteris hickeyi sp. nov., Piazopteris branneri, Aspidistes beckeri and Cladophlebis sp., and two gymnosperms, Zamites hoheneggeri and Brachyphyllum mamillare, are from a back-swamp dark gray carbonaceous lens. Phlebopteris hickeyi represents a new fern species that has five preserved pinnae with unique characteristics, including small sori and sporangia. The relatively small pinnules with massive midveins and grooves along either side of midveins represent a unique combination of characters. The water lily S. jordanicum and marsilealean fern M. mahisensis may have grown in ponds, lakes or slow-moving streams along the margin of the back-swamps. However, the tree fern W. reticulata is thought to have grown in tropical coastal areas. The co-occurrence of W. reticulata with S. jordanicum and M. mahisensis indicates that the habitat of water lily and marsilealean fern was not far from the coast. Additionally, M. mahisensis suggests the presence of dry seasons because extant Marsileaceae need a dry terrestrial phase for reproduction, which is consistent with climate implied from the xerophilic characters of W. reticulata. The matoniaceous fern Phlebopteris hickeyi, Piazopteris branneri, A. beckeri and bennettitalean Z. hoheneggeri were probably growing in the back-swamps. However, the conifer B. mamillare probably grew in coastal areas close to the back-swamps.

© 2014 Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. All rights reserved. •
Shusheng Hu and David Winship Taylor "Floristics and Paleoecology of an Early Cretaceous Flora from Jordan," Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 55(2), 153-170, (1 October 2014).
Received: 31 March 2014; Accepted: 1 May 2014; Published: 1 October 2014

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