First Bignoniaceae liana from the Miocene of South America and its evolutionary significance
FRANCO, M. JIMENA; BREA, MARIANA; CERDEÑO, ESPERANZA
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY
BOTANICAL SOC AMER INC
Año: 2021 vol. 108 p. 1761 - 1774
Premise: Two Bignoniaceae stems with the distinctive anatomy of a liana are described from the Miocene of South America. They are the first fossil evidence of climbing habit in Bignoniaceae.Methods: The fossil lianas are siliceous permineralizations. Transverse, tangential, and radial thin sections of the woods were prepared for study using standard petrographic techniques and observed under both light and scanning electron microscopy.Results: The stems consist of wood and presumably bark (peripheral tissues). They exhibit phloem wedges, a cambial variant associated with the climbing habit in Bignoniaceae. The wood is diffuse‐porous; solitary and in radial multiples vessels; alternated intervessel pitting; ray‐vessel pitting with distinct borders; simple perforation plates; rays 1?3 seriate, composed of procumbent cells or body ray cells procumbent with one or two‐row of upright or square marginal cells; fibers septateand non‐septate, with simple to minutely bordered pits; axial parenchyma scanty paratracheal, vasicentric, septate; perforated ray cells; prismatic crystals in rays, and rays and fibers irregularly storied. The fossil stems are related to extant Dolichandra unguis‐cati (L.) Miers.Conclusions: The fossils represent a new taxon, Dolichandra pacei sp. nov., which confirms the presence of a neotropical Bignoniaceae liana from the Miocene and provides the first and oldest evidence of the climbing habit in the family. Paleobotanical studies in the Mariño Formation, with the record of Bignoniaceae and Verbenaceae, and phylogenetic and biogeographical studies have great importance to understand plant evolution and diversification in South American Andes.