A new genus and species of Actinidiaceae (Parasaurauia allonensis gen. et sp. nov.) are established for fossil flowers and fruits from the early Campanian (Late Cretaceous) Buffalo Creek Member of the Gaillard Formation in central Georgia, USA. The fossil flowers, which are exquisitely preserved as charcoal, have five imbricate, quincuncially arranged sepals and petals. The androecium consists of ten stamens with anthers that are deeply sagittate proximally. The gynoecium is tricarpellate, syncarpous, and has three free styles that emerge from an apical depression in the ovary. The fruit is trilocular and contains numerous ovules on intruded axile placentae. The structure of mature fruits is unknown. Comparisons with extant taxa clearly demonstrate that the affinities of Parasaurauia allonensis are with the Ericales, and particularly with the Actinidiaceae, which have been placed among the Ericales in recent cladistic analyses. Because Parasaurauia allonensis is not identical to any one genus of Actinidiaceae, or other member of the Ericales, phylogenetic relationships of the fossil were evaluated through a cladistic analysis using morphological and anatomical characters. Results of this analysis place Parasaurauia allonensis within the Actinidiaceae as sister to the extant genera Saurauia and Actinidia. Parasaurauia allonensis differs from extant Saurauia only in having ten rather than numerous stamens.
- Late Cretaceous
- Parasaurauia allonensis
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science