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Richard O’Dell

Project Topic / Abstract:

“Structurally preserved spenophytes from the Triassic of Antarctica: Reproductive remains of Spaciinodum

Permineralized cones found organically attached to Spaciinodum collinsonii stems are described from the early Middle Triassic silicified flora from the Fremouw Formation of Antarctica, and the species diagnosis is emended to include the reproductive specimens. The apical cones are organized into internodal and leaf-bearing nodal regions. Nodal septations span the central pith and cortex, and thin fimbrils subdivide the internodal areas into smaller chambers. The vascular system consists of 31-33 continuous bundles that do not alternate in position between successive nodes and internodes. Simple sporangia are associated with the coritcal chambers and occur in one whorl on the axis. Spores are small, alck elaters, and have no discernible ultrastructure preserved, and they are interpreted to be immature. The Antarctic cones are different in structure form typical cones of modern and fossil members of Equisetales; however, they share similarities with some morphologically aberrant cones of extant Equisetum and several Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic compression-impression fossils. Spaciinodum is now the most complete anatomically described Mesozoic sphenophyte.