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A Cretaceous Aptian flora from President Head, Snow Island, Antarctica


, : A Cretaceous Aptian flora from President Head, Snow Island, Antarctica. Palaeontographica Abteilung B: Palaeophytologie

Lower Cretaceous strata of President Head, Snow Island, Antarctica, contain abundant plant mega- and microfossils. Their stratigraphic relationships and palynology indicate an Aptian age. Sedimentology of the plant-bearing units strongly supports an interpretation of accumulation in a freshwater lake, where low depositional energy favored the preservation of small delicate plants (e.g. Muscites, Jungermannites, Hepaticites), and insects (caddisfly cases). Numerically the flora is dominated by Pacypteris indica, Zamites snowensis sp. nov., and Ptilophyllum menendezi sp. nov., with a subsidiary suite of ferns (Lophosoria cupulatus, Aculea bifida, Sphenopteris sp. A) and conifers (Elatocladus australis sp. nov.). Other taxa with rare occurrences include the bennettitalean Dictyozamites cf. aerolatus, and the pentoxylalean Taeniopteris lobatus sp. nov. Fertile material is common and includes coniferous foliage with attached ovulate cones, isolated pollen cones, seeds, and ?seed bearing axes (Palissya antarcticus sp. nov.). Comparison with other Gondwana floras points to strong associations with both South America and Australia.

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