Marattialean-fossil foliage, assigned to Pecopteris Brongniart, was an important and widespread floral component in Late Pennsylvanian mires, with phylogenetic affinity to extant marattialean taxa in tropical regions. Marattialean fossil taxonomy is, however, still uncertain. Specimens from the Pilsen limnic Basin, Westphalian D, Czech Republic, represent fertile marattialean foliage of Pecopteris (Asterotheca) nyranensis and Pecopteris (Asterotheca) miltonii, and sterile foliage of Pecopteris aspidioides and Pecopteris polypodioides. Taxonomic parameters for their assignments included cuticle, stomatal morphologies (studied for the first time), and in situ reproductive organs and spores. Chemotaxonomic interpretations hinge on fidelity of preservation of compounds, or molecular fragments thereof, that were synthesized by the once-living plants. This preservation state was possibly due to the thermal history (maximum temperature of 130 ??C) in the Pilsen Basin, acidic preservation conditions, lithology and facies stability. Although subtle, the four pecopterid species are differentiable from one another by combined FTIR characteristics, supporting taxonomy. The ratio of CH2/CH3 is hypothesized to be a chemotaxonomic parameter for Pennsylvanian pteridophylls, both in seed and true ferns that have previously been studied. It will, however, be supplemented by additional biochemical markers. ?? 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Functional groups of fossil marattialeans: Chemotaxonomic implications for Pennsylvanian tree ferns and pteridophylls