Two early eudicot fossil flowers from the Kamikitaba assemblage (Coniacian, Late Cretaceous) in northeastern Japan

Masamichi Takahashi*, Patrick S. Herendeen, Xianghui Xiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Two new fossil taxa referable to the basal eudicot grade are described from the Kamikitaba locality (ca. 89 MYBP, early Coniacian: Late Cretaceous) of the Futaba Group in Japan. These charcoalified mesofossils exhibit well-preserved three-dimensional structure and were analyzed using synchrotron-radiation X-ray microtomography to document their composition and internal structure. Cathiaria japonica sp. nov. is represented by infructescence segments that consist of an axis bearing three to four fruits. The capsular fruits are sessile and dehiscent and consist of a gynoecium subtended by a bract. No perianth parts are present. The gynoecium is monocarpellate containing two pendulous seeds. The carpel is ascidiate in the lower half and conduplicate in the upper part, and the style is deflected abaxially with a large, obliquely decurrent stigma. Pollen grains are tricolpate with a reticulate exine. The morphological features of Cathiaria are consistent with an assignment to the Buxaceae s. l. (including Didymelaceae). Archaestella verticillatus gen. et sp. nov. is represented by flowers that are small, actinomorphic, pedicellate, bisexual, semi-inferior, and multicarpellate. The floral receptacle is cup shaped with a perigynous perianth consisting of several tepals inserted around the rim. The gynoecium consists of a whorl of ten conduplicate, laterally connate but distally distinct carpels with a conspicuous dorsal bulge, including a central cavity. The styles are short, becoming recurved with a ventrally decurrent stigma. Seeds are ca. 10 per carpel, marginal, pendulous from the broad, oblique summit of the locule. Pollen grains are tricolpate with a reticulate exine pattern, suggesting a relationship to eudicots. The morphological features of Archaestella indicate a possible relationship to Trochodendraceae in the basal grade of eudicots. The fossil currently provides the earliest record of the family and documents the presence of Trochodendraceae in eastern Eurasia during the middle part of the Late Cretaceous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-826
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Plant Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017


  • Angiosperms
  • Archaestella verticillatus
  • Buxaceae s. l
  • Cathiaria japonica
  • Coniacian
  • Cretaceous
  • Futaba group
  • Japan
  • Kamikitaba assemblage
  • Mesofossil
  • Synchrotoron-radiation X-ray microtomography (SRXTM)
  • Trochodendraceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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