Cretaceous (Late Albian) coniferales of Alexander Island, Antarctica. 2. Leaves, reproductive structures and roots
Coniferous foliage from the Albian of AlexanderIsland, Antarctica, is assigned to the Araucariaceae, Podocarpaceae, and Taxodiaceae based on attached or associated fertile remains. Araucarian foliage represented by Araucaria alexandrensis sp. nov. and A. chambersii sp. nov. is associated with ovulate cone scales described as Araucarites wollemiaformis sp. nov. and A. citadelbastionensis sp. nov., respectively. The Podocarpaceae is represented by Bellingshausium willeyii sp. nov. and the Taxodiaceae by Athrotaxites ungeri, both with attached cones. Sterile foliage is widespread belonging to the form genera Podozamites, Elatocladus, Brachyphyllum and Pagiophyllum. The conifers in this Albian southern high-latitude flora make up ca. 15% of the species diversity. Evidence from leaf litter distribution on palaeosols and leaf morphology suggest that the majority of conifers were large canopy-forming trees, although a few were probably small understorey shrubs.
Authors: Cantrill, David J., Falcon-Lang, Howard J.