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Am J Bot. 2001 Mar;88(3):467-80.

Fossil flowers of ericalean affinity from the Late Cretaceous of Southern Sweden.

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  • 1Department of Palaeobotany, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, SE-104 05 Stockholm, Sweden.


Charcoalified fossil flowers of a new genus and species (Paradinandra suecica) with affinities to Ericales s.l. (sensu lato) are described from the Late Cretaceous (Santonian-Campanian) from Southern Sweden. The flowers are pentamerous, hypogynous, and actinomorphic. Aestivation of sepals and petals is imbricate-quincuncial. The androecium consists of an outer whorl with single episepalous stamens and an inner whorl with paired epipetalous stamens. Pollen is small and probably tricolpate. Three carpels form a syncarpous ovary with numerous campylotropous ovules on parietal placentae. The styles are free for most of their length. The structure of mature fruits and seeds is unknown. Clear distinction of sepals and petals, possible dehiscence of anthers by restricted slits, presence of a nectary, and the general floral construction (salverform corolla) with a canalized access to the floral center clearly indicate insect pollination of the fossil flowers. Comparisons with extant taxa demonstrate that Paradinandra suecica shares many similarities with Ericales s.l. and in particular with members of Ternstroemiaceae, Theaceae, and Actinidiaceae. However, it is neither identical to any one genus of these families nor to any of the previously described ericalean taxa from the Cretaceous and thus provides further evidence of the diversity of Cretaceous ericalean plants.

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