J Syst Evol ›› 2011, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (6): 590-597.DOI: 10.1111/j.1759-6831.2011.00163.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Anatomical reinvestigation of Archaeopteris macilenta from the Upper Devonian (Frasnian) of South China

Yun GUO De‐Ming WANG*   

  1. (Key Laboratory of Orogenic Belts and Crustal Evolution, Department of Geology, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China)
  • Received:2011-03-17 Published:2011-10-06

Abstract: Archaeopteris macilenta is one of the most widespread plants in the Late Devonian. Based on fossils from the Frasnian Huangjiadeng Formation, Yichang District of Hubei Province, for the first time we study in detail the anatomy of this progymnosperm plant in South China. Ultimate axes are protostelic with three xylem sympodia and lack secondary tissue. Penultimate axes are eustelic, bearing eight sympodia and a thin band of secondary xylem. Radially symmetrical sympodia of mesarch primary xylem produce traces of appendages in a spiral arrangement. Archaeopteris macilenta and A. halliana (A. roemeriana) are dominant in the Frasnian and Famennian, respectively. Comparisons with these two species from other tectonic plates indicate consistent stelar architectures. Global spread, continuous occurrence, and identical anatomy during the Late Devonian indicate that Archaeopteris survived the Frasnian–Famennian extinction event. In this time, endemic genera and cosmopolitan taxa, including Archaeopteris, suggest the palaeogeographic isolation of South China and certain associations with other plates.

Key words: anatomy, Archaeopteris, Late Devonian, palaeogeography, progymnosperms, South China.