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Am J Bot. 1998 Apr;85(4):553.

Epidermal anatomy of Barthelopteris germarii from the Upper Carboniferous and Lower Permian of France and Germany.


The epidermal anatomy of Barthelopteris germarii, a late Paleozoic seed fern, is described on the basis of material from the Upper Stephanian of Central France. A number of features are described for the first time for this species. Some have never been reported for late Paleozoic pteridosperms. Although our material is in most respects very similar to previously described material of B. germarii from Germany, there are also some striking differences, especially the peltate glandular trichomes that are very common in the French but completely absent in the German material. Their presence is most probably an ecological adaptation as in many modern plants. This and other epidermal and gross-morphological features (e.g., the presence of papillae on subsidiary cells of the stomata, anastomosing venation) indicate that B. germarii was well adapted to stressed conditions. Of more general interest is the preservation of the material. There appears to exist a clear relationship between the preservation of anticlinal walls and the thickness of the parenchymatic mesophyll; anticlinal walls are very well preserved where parenchyma was thin. Therefore, the absence of anticlinal walls in fossil cuticles, which has often been used as a taxonomic character, is not necessarily a primary feature.

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