OPEN Scientific reports | 10 Nov 2015
Q Xu, W Zhou, TM Kodrul, SV Naugolnykh and J Jin
Fossil records indicate that the genus Pinus L. split into two subgenera by the Late Cretaceous, although subgenus Strobus (D. Don) Lemmon is less well documented than subgenus Pinus L., especially in eastern Asia. In this paper, Pinus maomingensis sp. nov. is established based on a compressed seed cone from the upper Eocene of the Maoming Basin of southern China. This species is attributed to genus Pinus, subgenus Strobus, section Quinquefoliae Duhamel, subsection Strobus Loudon based on the combination of morphological characters obtained from the cone scales, specifically from the terminal umbo, rhombic apophysis, and cuticle structure. Associated fascicles of needle leaves with deciduous sheaths and bulbous bases are recognized as Pinus sp. and also represent Pinus subgenus Strobus. This new discovery from the Maoming Basin constitutes the first megafossil record of subgenus Strobus from southern China and implies that the members of this subgenus arrived in the southern region of China by the late Eocene. The extant species of subgenus Strobus are mainly distributed in northern temperate and tropical to subtropical mountainous regions. We propose that the Maoming Basin was adjacent to a mountainous region during the late Eocene.
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