Turkish Journal of Botany




Palms are known to be an important and diverse angiosperm component in the Deccan Intertrappean beds of Central India. However, the report of fossilized palm stems inhibiting saprophytic fungal remains is empty in the field of paleobotany. Here, we document for the first time the occurrence of fungal remains in a petrified palm stem collected from the latest Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous)-earliest Danian (early Paleocene) sediments of the Deccan Intertrappean beds of Madhya Pradesh, Central India. The anatomical features of the fossil stem are characterized by the presence of Corypha-type general stem pattern (progressive decrease of fibrous parts of fibrovascular bundles, fvbs from the periphery towards the center), vaginata-shaped fvbs with dorsal fibrous sclerenchymatous part (dcap) adjacent to the phloem, metaxylem vessel element varying from 1 in the outer part to 2 and more (>4) in the inner central zone, and abundant fibrous bundles in the central zone. Based on these anatomical characteristics, our Deccan specimen is confidently placed under extant Corypha-type coryphoid palm taxa belonging to the family Arecaceae and is recognized as a new species Palmoxylon coryphaoides Ali, Roy et Khan sp. nov. The detailed anatomical study of the fossil stem specimen also reveals that it is endogenously infected with well-preserved fungal conidia similar to the modern saprophytic fungus Epicoccum Link. ex Schlecht that are profusely distributed in the metaxylem vessels. The evidence of the current palm species and earlier-reported fossil palm species similar to Coryphoideae collectively indicate the existence of a tropical, warm, and humid environment in the Deccan Intertrappean Beds of Madhya Pradesh during the time of deposition.


Anatomy, Coryphoideae, Deccan Intertrappean beds, fungal remains, Madhya Pradesh, Palmoxylon

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