Plant remains from the Polish Triassic. Present knowledge and future prospects
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Department of Palaeobotany and Palaeoherbarium, Institute of Botany, Jagiellonian University, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland
Online publication date: 2014-06-17
Publication date: 2014-06-17
Acta Palaeobotanica 2014; 54(1): 3–33
The Triassic plant macrofossils of Poland are very poorly known. There are few Triassic rock exposures here, they contain very few plant specimens, there is little scientific interest in the subject, and the rare plant remains found in drill cores are of low stratigraphical significance. The Lower Triassic macroflora is surprisingly poorer taxonomically than coeval European floras, and only single specimens have been found. The flora of the Middle Triassic is even poorer as a result of the Muschelkalk sea transgression. Only the Upper Triassic floras contain many specimens and taxa. The Upper Triassic macrofloras from Polish territory are well known since the early 19th century. Pioneering descriptions of these floras were given by Goeppert and Raciborski. From the Polish Triassic, the seed fern Lepidopteris ottonis (index species for the Rhaetian stage) and Neocalamites lehmannianus (sphenopsid species typical of almost all European Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic floras) were described for the first time ever. In the 20th century only single specimens were described from outcrops and drill cores. Barbacka revised Lepidopteris ottonis specimens from old collections and described some new material. Palynological research on Triassic strata in Poland intensified from the 1970s on. That work has produced spore-pollen and megaspore zonations for Triassic strata in Poland, but the correlation of the dispersed spores and pollen grains with their parent plants is low. The Polish Triassic flora is comprised of ferns, lycopsids, sphenopsids, cycads, bennettitaleans, ginkgoaleans and conifers. This flora is taxonomically poorer than equally old and geographically close European floras. All available data about Polish Triassic plants fossils are critically summarised in this paper for the first time. The biostratigraphical and lithostratigraphical correlations of Polish Triassic floras with other European Triassic floras are outlined. New macrofloral assemblages for the Lower and Middle Triassic and macrofloral assemblage zones for the Upper Triassic are proposed for Poland. Recent new finds of taxonomically rich, abundant and well-preserved floras accompanying vertebrate remains in Silesia provide an opportunity for comprehensive research on Polish Triassic floras. This should improve our perception of their taxonomy and allow them to be described in evolutionary and palaeoecological contexts.