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Paleobotanical Section

Mindell, Randal [1], Stockey, Ruth A. [1], Beard, Graham [2].

Fagus-like fruits from the Eocene of Vancouver Island, Canada.

More than forty trigonal, sclerotic fagaceous fruits have been identified in the calcareous nodules from the Eocene Appian Way locality of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The specimens were studied using the cellulose acetate peel technique. The fruits are known at various developmental stages. In transverse section, fruits are triangular with lateral ridges that vary in shape from rounded to sharply angled. In longitudinal section, the nuts show a broad base and a tapered distal tip. The ovary is partitioned into three locules at the apex and placentation is axile with two ovules per locule. Locules merge near the base, giving the appearance of a three-lobed ovarian cavity. The inner wall of the endocarp is typically, but in some specimens glabrous. The mesocarp has major vascular bundles that occur midway between and at the lateral ridges of the nut, suggesting a trimerous arrangement of floral organs. Fibre bundles occur at regular intervals in the outer mesocarp. An exocarp of dense sclerenchyma is interrupted at the ridges by dehiscence lines that traverse the entire fruit wall. Given this suite of characters, these specimens show closest affinities to Fagus and Trigonobalanus s.l. (Fagaceae) and may represent the earliest and first occurrence of anatomically preserved trigonal fruits for the family.

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1 - University of Alberta, Department of Biological Sciences, Biological Sciences Centre, Cw 405, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2E9, Canada
2 - Vancouver Island Paleontological Museum, 151 West Sunningdale, Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, V9K 1K7, Canada

Fossil Fruit

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 22-5
Location: 404/Hilton
Date: Monday, August 15th, 2005
Time: 4:30 PM
Abstract ID:420

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