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A Whole-Plant Monocot From The Early Cretaceous

Zhong-Jian Liu, Li-Jun Chen, Xin Wang

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AbstractThe Yixian Formation (the Lower Cretaceous) of China is world famous for its fossils of early angiosperms. Although these diverse angiosperms demonstrate an unexpectedly great diversity, few are preserved as whole plants (not mention of monocots), making our understanding of them incomplete. Here, we report a fossil angiosperm, Sinoherba ningchenensis gen. et sp. nov (Sinoherbaceae fam. nov.), from the Yixian Formation of China; this fossil has a physically connected underground stem with fibrous rootlets, a stem with branches and nodes, leaves with parallel-reticulate veins, and a panicle of female flowers with an ovary surrounded by perianth. Morphological and phylogenetic analyses revealed that Sinoherba is an herbaceous monocot taxon. This newly discovered fossil underscores the great diversity of angiosperms in the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation.