American Journal of Botany
Noeggerathiales are a little known group of Carboniferous and Permian plants of uncertain systematic position that have been variously considered to be ferns, sphenopsids, progymnosperms, or a separate group. These heterosporous plants carry adaxial sporangia on leaf-like or disk-shaped sporophylls that form cones. Leaves are pinnate with a rather stiff appearance, and pinnules can be attached in either two or four rows. In the present report, we present the top of a noeggerathialean plant with leaves and strobili attached, Paratingia wudensis Wang, Pfefferkorn et Bek sp. nov., from an earliest Permian volcanic ash fall tuff in Inner Mongolia. The excellent preservation allows the reconstruction of the whole plant, the complex three-dimensional leaves with anisophyllous pinnules, the heterosporous strobili, and the spores in situ. The homology of leaves and strobili can be elucidated and contributes to an understanding of the debated taxonomic position of Noeggerathiales. The "anisophyllous" leaves carry pinnules arranged in four rows. The strobili are bisporangiate and have disk-shaped sporophylls, each with one ring of 10-14 adaxial sporangia around the strobilus axis. Megaspores have an equatorial bulge. This new species expands the known diversity of Noeggerathiales. It grew in a peat-forming forest, thus changing earlier interpretations of the growth of noeggerathialean plants with anisophyllous pinnules.
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