Megaflora of the Australian Triassic–Jurassic: a taxonomic revision
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School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia Campus, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia
Online publication date: 2016-12-13
Publication date: 2016-12-13
Acta Palaeobotanica 2016; 56(2): 121–182
Umkomasiaceans are the most commonly recorded components of Gondwanan Triassic floras but they are not represented subsequently in that region. Their diversity appears to have substantially declined prior to the Rhaetian. Lower and Middle Jurassic floras in Australia and elsewhere in Gondwana are strikingly different from those of the Triassic, comprising ferns, lycopods, conifers, cycads, and bennettitaleans. The fern Cladophlebis Brongniart 1849 emend. Seward 1894 dominated coal-forming paludal environments during the Middle Jurassic in Queensland and it is one of the most commonly preserved plants in the Eastern Gondwanan Jurassic. Ginkgoaleans were present in Eastern Gondwana until near the end-Triassic but were absent below ca 60°S palaeolatitude during the Early and Middle Jurassic. The type specimen of Dicroidium superbum (Shirley 1898) Townrow 1957 emend. nov. has been inaccurately represented in the published record. Consequently, many specimens belonging to the species have been incorrectly assigned to other umkomasiacean species. Misidentifications and considerably enlarged circumscriptions of some species have resulted in an erroneous and simplistic morpho-continuum concept supposedly linking umkomasiacean fronds. Several commonly occurring umkomasiacean species are re-assessed with particular attention to their type specimens, two of which are accurately figured here for the first time. This re-assessment, together with evidence from allied fructifications and wood, supports the view that umkomasiacean fronds belong to several genera. Most umkomasiacean lineages probably terminated prior to the Rhaetian; however, Zuberia Frenguelli 1943 emend. Artabe 1990 persisted to near the close of the Triassic.