J Syst Evol ›› 2024, Vol. 62 ›› Issue (1): 149-163.DOI: 10.1111/jse.13011

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

First recognition of the extinct eudicot genus Palibinia in North America: Leaves and fruits of Palibinia comptonifolia (R.W.Br.) comb. nov. from the Eocene of Utah and Colorado, USA

Steven R. Manchester1*, Walter S. Judd1,2, and Tatiana Kodrul3   

  1. 1 Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7800, USA;
    2 Bell Museum, Herbarium, University of Minnesota, 1445 Gortner Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108, USA;
    3 Geological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pyzhevskii per. 7, Moscow 119017, Russia
    *Author for correspondence. E-mail: steven@flmnh.ufl.edu
  • Received:2023-03-15 Revised:2023-06-26 Online:2023-08-22 Published:2024-01-01

Abstract: Newly investigated leafy twigs bearing axillary fruits from the Eocene Parachute Creek Member of the Green River Formation in eastern Utah, USA, have provided more information on the species previously attributed to the Proteaceae as Banksia comptonifolia R.W.Br. The leaves are simple, estipulate with short petioles, and elongate laminae with prominent angular nonglandular teeth. The laminae have a thick midvein and pinnate craspedodromous secondaries, and are distinctive in the presence of a thick, often coalified, marginal rim. Vegetative and reproductive buds occur in the axils of the leaves. These features indicate that the species belongs to Palibinia Korovin—an extinct Eudicot genus previously known only from the Paleogene of Asia and Europe. Small pedicellate ovoid fruits 1.5–2.2?mm wide are borne in fascicles of three and are seen to be capsules with four apical valves. Despite the specific epithet referring to similarity of the foliage to that of Comptonia (Myricaceae), the fasciculate inflorescence organization with axillary flowers is quite distinct from the catkins characteristic of that family. Assignment to Banksia or other Proteaceae with complex inflorescences and follicular fruits is also problematic. Additionally, MacGinitie′s transfer of the species to Vauquelinia of the Rosaceae is contradicted by the lack of stipule scars on the twig and by differences in leaf venation and floral morphology. We transfer the species to Palibinia comptonifolia (R.W.Br.) comb. nov., but its familial affinity within the Pentapetalae remains uncertain. This new occurrence augments records from the Paleogene of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, China, England, and Germany.

Key words: Bonanza, Utah, extinct angiosperm, fossil fruits, fossil leaves, Parachute Creek Member