HERMSEN, ELIZABETH J.*, WILLIAM L. CREPET, AND KEVIN C. NIXON. L.H. Bailey Hortorium, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. - A new fossil saxifragoid from the Upper Cretaceous of New Jersey.
A new fossil flower from the Old Crossman Clay Pit locality of the
Raritan Formation (Upper Cretaceous, Turonian, ~90 million years BP),
Sayreville, New Jersey, is described from charcoalified,
three-dimensionally preserved specimens. The flower is minute in
size, perfect, and pentamerous except for the gynoecium, which is
composed of only two carpels. The sepals are triangular in shape and
basally connate forming a hypanthium; trichomes occur on both surfaces
of the sepals. Three overlapping petals preserved in one specimen and
petal scars present in others indicate that the corolla is composed of
five petals with imbricate aestivation. The androecium is composed of
five staminodes or stamens with relatively long, ribbonlike filaments;
anthers are currently unknown. The bicarpellate ovary is either
semi-inferior or inferior with two locules and axile placentation.
Although there are two free styles, the stigmas are fused forming a
single stigmatic platform. A swollen ring located on top of the
ovary and surrounding the base of the styles is interpreted as a
nectary disk. Based on the pentamerous flower plan with bicarpellate
gynoecium, inferior or semi-inferior ovary position, and especially
the presence of free styles with fused stigmas, this fossil has
affinities with the modern genus Itea, typically placed within
the Saxifragaceae senso lato.
Key words: angiosperm, Cretaceous, fossil, Raritan, Saxifragaceae, Turonian