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A new rhyniopsid with novel sporangium organization from the Lower Devonian of South Wales

Shute, C. H. and Edwards, Dianne 1989. A new rhyniopsid with novel sporangium organization from the Lower Devonian of South Wales. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 100 (2) , pp. 111-137. 10.1111/j.1095-8339.1989.tb01713.x

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Re-investigation of permineralized plants originally called Cooksonia sp. from the Lower Old Red Sandstone (Siegenian) of Gwent, S. Wales shows them to be rhyniopsids with simple isotomous branching in smooth axes and ellipsoidal terminal sporangia that are longer than wide and that possess a complex wall organization. They are thus placed in a new genus. The sporangial wall is several cells thick, the outermost comprising a layer with pronounced thickening of the anticlinal and outer periclinal walls, which is interrupted by a zone of thinner-walled cells parallel to the longest dimension of the ellipsoidal organ and considered to be involved in its dehiscence into two equal halves. The alete isospores have a bilayered wall, the outer interpreted as an ornamented perispore. Similar granular ornament seen on sheets and globules in the vicinity of the spores and on the innermost surface of the sporangium wall possibly demonstrates the activity of a periplasmodial tapetum. The permineralized sporangia are considered conspecific with those in compression fossils with elliptical outlines and pronounced borders. Comparison of presumed dehiscence mechanisms in a number of Silurian and early Devonian fossils suggests that splitting into two equal valves along the longest dimension, so that a maximum area of spores was exposed to the atmosphere, arose independently in a number of unrelated plants.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Ocean Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QK Botany
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dehiscence; exine; perispore; tapetum
Publisher: Linnean Society of London
ISSN: 0024-4074
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:09

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