Crepet, W. L. and K. C. Nixon. 1998. Two new fossil flowers of magnoliid affinity from the Late Cretaceous of New Jersey. American Journal of Botany 85 (9): 1273-1288.

Abstract: Two taxa of cupulate magnoliid fossil flowers, Cronquistiflora and Detrusandra, are described from the Late Cretaceous (Turonian, ~ 90 MYBP) Raritan (or lower Magothy) Formation of New Jersey. The fossil taxa are represented by flowers at various stages of development, associated fragments of cup-shaped floral receptacles with attached anthers, and isolated anthers. Both taxa have laminar stamens with adaxial thecae and valvate dehiscence. Pollen is boat-shaped and foveolate in anthers associated with Cronquistiflora and Spherical with reticulate ornamentation in Detrusandra. Cup-shaped receptacles are externally bracteose in both taxa. The receptacle of Cronquistiflora is broader than the campanulate one of Detrusandra. Cronquistiflora also has more carpels (~50 in a spiral vs. ~5 in a whorl or tight spiral). In Detrusandra the carpels are surrounded by dorsiventrally flattened structures (pistillodes?) that are remote from the attachment of the stamens near the distal rim of the receptacular cupule. Detrusandra stigmas are rounded and bilobed while those of Cronquistiflora, although bilateral in symmetry, are somewhat peltate. The fossil taxa share prominent characters with extant cupulate magnoliids (e.g., Eupomatia, Calycanthus), but also share characters with other magnoliids including Winteraceae. These fossils represent taxa that are character mosaics relative to currently recognized families. Inclusion of these fossils in existing data matrices and ensuing phylogenetic analyses effect changes in tree topologies consistent with their mosaicism relative to modern taxa. But such analyses do not definitively demonstrate the affinities of the fossils other than illustrating that these fossils are generalized magnoliids. Additional analysis of modern and fossil magnoliids in necessary to fully appreciate the phylogenetic significance and positions of these fossil taxa. However, the results of the phylogenetic analyses do introduce the possibility that extinct taxa of Magnoliales with cupulate floral receptacles were transitional between basal angiosperms and those with tricolpate pollen. The fossils provide insights into the timing of evolution of character complexes now associated with coleopteran pollination.


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Cronquistiflora and Detrusandra
Actual width in ( ) unless otherwise noted.

Top view of partial
Cronquistiflora sayervillensis flower
(2.84 mm)
(stigma width= 425 µm)
Side view of partial
Cronquistiflora flower
(height= 2.8 mm)

(height= 957 µm)
(length= 1.6 mm)
Pollen grain
(length= 17 µm)

Top view of
Detrusandra mystagoga flower
(2.6 mm)
Closer view of stigmas
(stigma width= 166 µm)
Side view of
Detrusandra flower
(height= 3.4 mm)

Pistilodes and carpels
(height= 765 µm)
(length= 1.8 mm)
Pollen grains
(20 µm)