Abstract

A new permineralized fossil plant assemblage is described from volcaniclastic tuff collected in the Upper Permian (Wuchiapigian to Changhsingian) Xuanwei Formation at Shanjiaoshu mine, Guizhou Province, China. The assemblage is fragmentary but contains a small sphenopsid strobilus, a partial strobilus of a lepidodendralean lycopsid, pinnae of the filicalean fern Anachoropteris and a filicalean non-laminate fertile pinna rachis, the marattialean ferns Eoangiopteris, Scolecopteris and Psaronius, hooked stems of probable gigantopterid affinity, and two kinds of cardiocarpalean ovules. This represents the first indisputable evidence of Anachoropteris from the Permian of China, and contrasts with previous evidence from Europe and North America that indicates this genus became extinct during earliest Permian times. The assemblage highlights the persistence of plants from wetland communities and mire ecosystems into the Upper Permian of southern China, and adds further support to the presence of the Ameriosinian phytogeographical realm. This represents the first record of a plant assemblage preserved in volcaniclastic sediments from the Upper Permian of southern China, and in combination with other recently discovered plant assemblages in similar deposits in southern China, suggests volcanism to be an important factor in facilitating permineralized plant preservation in this realm. Although the source of the volcanism that produced the tuff is unknown, its age and location are consistent with the Emishan Large Igneous Province (LIP) of southwest China.

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