In this contribution, fossil woods from the Valle de La Luna Member of the Upper Triassic Ischigualasto Formation at Ischigualasto Provincial Park, San Juan Province, Argentina, are described. The specimens are preserved as silica permineralization in tuffs intercalated with carbonaceous mudstone beds interpreted as distal floodplain facies. The fossil woods were assigned to the new species Agathoxylon argentinum since their anatomy differs from the known Mesozoic Gondwanan species of the genus Agathoxylon. The combination of characters present in the new taxon indicates an affiliation with the conifer family Araucariaceae. Signals of fungal-mediated wood decay were observed, comparable to the activity of basidiomycetes. Spherical structures attached to the walls of the tracheids were recognized and are interpreted as holocarpic chytrid fungi. The growth rings were quantitatively analyzed. Low values of percentage diminution, percentage latewood, and Ring Markedness Index, and a mean percentage skew of +11.5, were obtained, suggesting that the new species was an evergreen gymnosperm. The stratigraphic distribution and taxonomic composition of the Ischigualasto Formation fossil-plant-bearing levels were studied. A vegetation change is recorded in the fossil level bearing Agathoxylon argentinum n. sp., marked by the replacement of the corystosperm genera and a diminution of arboreal corystosperms. This floristic change, in addition to other evidence, indicates humid paleoclimatic conditions for the uppermost part of the Valle de La Luna Member of the Ischigualasto Formation.
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Vol. 96 • No. 6