Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Oldest known fossils of monocotyledons

Abstract

The monocotyledonous angiosperm clade (class Liliopsida) includes roughly 50,000 species1 of diverse forms. The group comprises such economically noticeable plants as palms, orchids, most of the horticultural bulbs, and grasses, which include some of the most important food crops, such as maize, rice and other grains. Modern monocotyledons are diverse and dominate many habitats, but the fossil record of these plants is meagre, fossils of monocotyledonous flowers are rare, and the earliest putative monocotyledonous fossils (pollen and leaves) are all equivocal2,3. Here we describe the oldest known fossil flowers that can be definitely assigned to the Liliopsida.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Scanning electron micrographs of fossil flowers from the Upper Cretaceous stage of New Jersey.

References

  1. 1

    Cronquist, A. An Integrated System of Classification of Flowering Plants (Columbia Univ. Press, New York, 1981).

  2. 2

    Daghlian, C. P. Bot. Rev. 47, 517-555 (1981).

  3. 3

    Herendeen, P. S. & Crane, P. R. in Monocotyledons: Systematics and Evolution (eds Rudall, P. J., Cribb, D. F., Cutler, D. F. & Humphries, C. J.) 1-21 (R. Bot. Gard., Kew, 1995).

  4. 4

    Friis, E. M. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 71, 403-418 (1984).

  5. 5

    Friis, E. M., Pedersen, K. R. & Crane, P. R. Biol. Skr. Dan. Vid. Selsk. Skrift. Kgl. Vidensk. 41, 1-45 (1992).

  6. 6

    Crane, P. R. & Herendeen, P. S. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 90, 319-337 (1996).

  7. 7

    Crepet, W. L. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 90, 339-359 (1996).

  8. 8

    Crepet, W. L. & Nixon, K. C. in The Anther: Form, Function and Phylogeny (eds D'Arcy, W. G. & Keating, R. C.) 25-57 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996).

  9. 9

    Nixon, K. C. & Crepet, W. L. Am. J. Bot. 80, 616-623 (1993).

  10. 10

    Herendeen, P. S., Crepet, W. L. & Nixon, K. C. Plant Syst. Evol. 189, 29-40 (1994).

  11. 11

    Gandolfo, M. A., Nixon, K. C. & Crepet, W. L. Am. J. Bot. (in the press).

  12. 12

    Davis, J. I. Syst. Bot. 20, 503-527 (1995).

  13. 13

    Stevenson, D. W. & Loconte, H. in Monocotyledons: Systematics and Evolution (eds Rudall, P. J., Cribb, D. F., Cutler, D. F. & Humphries, C. J) 543-578 (R. Bot. Gard., Kew, 1995).

  14. 14

    Brenner, G. J. Bull. State Maryland, Board Nat. Resour., Dept. Geology, Mines, Water Resour. 27, 1-215 (1963).

  15. 15

    Gandolfo, M. A. et al. 84, 483-493 (1997).

  16. 16

    Gandolfo, M. A., Nixon, K. C. & Crepet, W. L. Fifth Conf. Int. Org. Palaeobot. Abstr. 42 (1996).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gandolfo, M., Nixon, K., Crepet, W. et al. Oldest known fossils of monocotyledons. Nature 394, 532–533 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/28974

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing