J Syst Evol ›› 2010, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (5): 326-335.

• Research Articles •

Schmeissneria: An angiosperm from the Early Jurassic

1, 2Xin WANG*

1. 1(Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing 210008, China)
2(Fairylake Botanical Garden, Shenzhen 518004, China)
• Received:2010-02-21 Published:2010-09-26

Abstract: The origin of angiosperms has been a focus of intensive research for a long time. The so-called pre-Cretaceous angiosperms, including Schmeissneria, are usually clouded with doubt. To expel the cloud around the enigmatic Schmeissneria, the syntype and new materials of Schmeissneria collected previously in Germany and recently in China are studied. These materials include female inflorescences and infructescences. The latter are old materials but were under-studied previously. Light microscopy and SEM observations indicate that the fruits in these infructescences have in situ seeds enclosed, and that the ovaries are closed long before pollination. Thus the plants meet two strict criteria for angiosperms (angiospermy plus angio-ovuly). Placing Schmeissneria in angiosperms will extend the record of angiosperms up to the Early Jurassic, more compatible with many molecular dating conclusions on the age of angiosperms, and demanding a reassessment of the current doctrines on the origin of angiosperms. Although the phylogenetic relationship of Schmeissneria to other angiosperms apparently is still an open question, this study adds to research concerning the origin of angiosperms.