Taxonomy and palaeoecology of Early Cretaceous (Late Albian) angiosperm leaves from Alexander Island, Antarctica
Seven species of angiospermous leaves from the mid to Late Albian of Alexander Island, Antarctica provide further evidence of angiosperm radiation into high southern palaeolatitudes. The leaves have both palmate (three species) and pinnate (four species) venation. Entire margined leaves with brochidodromus venation are interpreted as belonging to the Magnoliidae, and possibly include members of the Laurales. Palmately veined forms representing the Laurales occur as do palaeoherbs. Other taxa have marginal teeth comparable to those found in the Rosidae. Palaeoecological analysis indicates that Hydrocotylophyllum alexandri sp. nov. was a herbaceous streamside coloniser; Gnafalea jeffersonii gen. et sp. nov. was a small shrubby plant growing adjacent to levee banks. The other angiosperms, Araliaephyllum quinquelobatus sp. nov., Timothyia trinervis gen. et sp. nov., Gnafalea binatus sp. nov., Ficophyllum palustris sp. nov., Dicotylophyllum lobatus sp. nov., occur infrequently in swamp deposits and probably represent a scattered understorey of trees and shrubs amongst a conifer and pentoxylalean overstorey.