An Aptian Plant with Attached Leaves and Flowers: Implications for Angiosperm Origin

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Science  09 Feb 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4943, pp. 702-704
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4943.702


Recent phylogenetic studies and fossil finds support a new view of the ancestral angiosperm. A diminutive fossil angiosperm from the Aptian of Australia has attached leaves, with intermediate pinnate-palmate, low-rank venation, and lateral axes bearing pistillate organs subtended by bracts and bracteoles that are the oldest direct evidence of flowers. A variety of data suggests a similar morphology for the ancestral angiosperm. This hypothesis explains similarities between rhizomatous to herbaceous Magnoliidae and basal monocots, scarcity of early agniosperm wood, and lack of recognition of earlier remains.