Abstract

Anatomically preserved plants are described from marine goniatite bullions of Marsdenian age (Namurian B, Upper Carboniferous) from Star Wood, Oakamoor, Staffordshire, England. They comprise stems and petioles, up to 15 cm long, predominantly of cordaites (Mesoxylon) and pteridosperms (Sutcliffia), with rare calamites, ferns and lycopsids, and are preserved as calcareous permineralizations. Rare fusainized plant fragments are also found. The flora is similar, although comprising fewer species, to the roof nodule floras of Langsettian (Westphalian A) age from Lancashire which occur above coal seams yielding calcareous coal balls. The plants preserved in these roof nodules probably grew in well-drained, slightly elevated lowlands, not inundated during marine transgression, and contrast in botanical composition to the floras of lowland peat-forming mires represented in typical coal ball floras. The Oakamoor assemblage likewise probably represents an assemblage living in well-drained elevated areas which drifted into the sea and was preserved in sediment-starved carbonates during the height of the marine transgression. These species of plants appear not to have become part of lowland mire ecosystems until later in the Carboniferous. The occurrence of this flora pre-dates that previously described from the Westphalian Coal Measures, and extends the range of several important Upper Carboniferous plant taxa.

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