Mariopterid pteridosperms, scrambling and climbing vines of the Late Carboniferous swamp forest: a case study from the Namurian B of Hagen-Vorhalle (Germany)
Krings, Michael; Grewing, Anke; Taylor, Thomas N.
published: Jul 25, 2003
The Late Carboniferous mariopterid pteridosperms generally were small- to mediumsized, scrambling/climbing vines with narrow stems and relatively small, bipartite or quadripartite fronds. The fossil record of these plants from the upper Namurian B (lowermost Upper Carboniferous) of Hagen-Vorhalle (Germany) is composed of foliage specimens assignable to the genera Karinopteris and Mariopteris, a few stem portions with attached foliage, and isolated stem fragments. Specialized climber hooks, developed from apical prolongations of pinna axes and/or pinnule midveins, are a prominent feature of many foliage specimens. The most remarkable remains of mariopterid pteridosperms from Hagen-Vorhalle are portions of a stem bearing clusters of long shoot-borne roots with first- and second-order lateral roots. Prior to the discovery of these specimens, the root systems of mariopterids were virtually unknown. Hypotheses are offered as to the significance of climber hooks and shoot-borne roots with regard to the scrambling/climbing growth of mariopterid pteridosperms in the community in which they lived.