Epidermal Patterns of the Lemma in Some Fossil and Living Grasses and Their Phylogenetic Significance

Science  03 Mar 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4332, pp. 975-977
DOI: 10.1126/science.199.4332.975


Morphological study of fossil grass anthoecia of Berriochloa and Nassella collected from Miocene-Pliocene strata in Kansas has revealed well-preserved epidermal structure. This seems to be the first micromorphological information known from fossil grass floral bracts. The epidermal pattern on the lemma in the fossils and their living counterparts are evidence in support of the view that the North American species of Stipa of the section Hesperostipa Elias and species of Piptochaetium have a common ancestry in Berriochloa, and that species of both taxa have been distinct from species of the Nassella, Oryzopsis, and other Stipa since at least the Miocene or Pliocene.