A new drought resistant gymnosperm taxon Duartenia araripensis gen. nov. et sp. nov. (Cheirolepidiaceae?) from the Early Cretaceous of Northern Gondwana
Mohr, Barbara A.R.;Schultka, Stephan;Süss, Herbert;Bernardes-de-Oliveira, Mary E.C.
published: Dec 7, 2012
A new gymnosperm taxon from the Lower Cretaceous (upper Aptian to possibly lower Albian) Crato Formation of Brazil, Duartenia araripensis gen. nov. et sp. nov. is described. The most prominent specimen, a branch with attached lateral branches of higher orders exhibits a distinct anisotomous branching pattern. The very dense wood is composed of tracheids with spaced and partly contiguous uniseriate pits and low rays with one pit per cross-field (mixed protopinaceous type). When foliage is not abraded, Duartenia exhibits coriacious Brachyphyllum-type leaves. Duartenia may be linked to cheirolepid conifers, however, the systematic affinity remains uncertain. The dense wood, characteristic growth pattern and thick, scale like, trichome bearing leaves may be related to ecological conditions that reflect a seasonally dry climate.