Cordaites borassifolius (Sternberg) Unger (Cordaitales) from the Radnice Basin (Bolsovian, Czech Republic)


Authors: Šimůnek Z, Opluštil S, Drábková J

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 84, issue 2; pages: 301 - 336; Received 6 March 2009; Accepted in revised form 22 May 2009; Online 18 June 2009

Keywords: Carboniferous, Radnice Basin, Cordaites, cuticles, cordaitalean fertile organs,

full text (PDF, 6.12 MB)

Export to RIS



The remains of cordaitalean plants are an important element in Bolsovian plant fossil assemblages from the Radnice Basin (Czech Republic). The study of historic collections and new excavations brings together new data on the Cordaites type species - Cordaites borassifolius. Cordaites borassifolius was probably quite a large tree of monopodial or even sympodial stature. Its trunk diameter was at a minimum 0.5 m. Branches were between 1.1 m and spaced less than 0.7 m appart. The bases of the branches usually attained about 2/3 to 1/2 of the trunk width. The abaxial cuticle has stomata arranged in multiplex stomatal rows that formed a wide stomatiferous band. A transverse crypt above the stoma is an important diagnostic feature. The cordaitalean leaves, twigs, pith casts, fertile organs and seeds found are referable to a single natural species. The associated fertile organs belong to two types: 1) male fertile organs Florinanthus volkmannii and 2) a more robust, probably female, form similar to Cordaitanthus ovatus. Cuticles from the scales and long bracts of Florinanthus volkmannii have been studied in detail. Most scale cuticles are astomatal, but stomata may occur very rarely on some parts of the abaxial cuticle. Small trichomes grew from the scale margins. The cuticle of the bract has elongate cells and stomata are arranged in single stomatal rows on the abaxial cuticle. Many bilateral monosaccate pollen grains [Florinites ovalis, Florinites guttatus and Pseudoillinites, with a central body bipolar attachment to the equatorial saccus were separated from scale surfaces of Florinanthus volkmannii. The pith cast belong to the species Artisia approximata. The seeds are small and of the “Cardiocarpus-type”. Cordaites borassifolius grew in wet, peat-forming habitats and they were most likely trees of medium height.


Alpern, B. 1959. Contribution a l’étude palynologique et petrographique des charbons français. 314 pp. Ph.D. thesis, Faculté des Sciences, Université de Paris.

Andrae, C.J. 1864. Die Versteinerungen der Steinkohlenformation von Stradonitz in Böhmen. Neues Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geologie und Palaeontologie 1864, 160-176.

Andrews, H.N. Jr. 1970. Index of generic names of fossil plants, 1820-1965. Geological Survey Bulletin 1300, 1-353.

Andrusov, D., Čepek, L., Hynie, O., Kettner, R., Kodym, O. & Urban, K. 1940. Vysvětlivky ke geologické mapě protektorátu Čechy a Morava, List Královice 4051. Knihovna Geologického ústavu pro Čechy a Moravu 19, 1-142.

Balme, B.E. 1995. Fossil in situ spores and pollen grains an annotated catalogue. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 87, 81-323.View article

Balme, E.B. & Henelly, J.P.F. 1955. Bisaccate sporomorphs from Australian Permian coals. Australian Journal of Botany 3, 89-98.View article

Barthel, M. 1964. Coniferen- und Cordaiten-Reste aus dem Rotliegenden des Döhlener Beckens. Geologie (Berlin) 13(1), 60-89.

Bharadwaj, D.C. 1957. The palynological investigations of the Saar coals. Part I - Monography of sporae dispersae. Palaeontographica B 101, 73-125.

Brongniart, A. 1828. Prodrome d’une histoire des végétaux fossiles. Dictionaire des sciences naturelles 57, 1-223.

Brush, G.S.&Barghoorn, E.S. 1962. Identification and structure of cordaitean pollen. Journal of Paleontology 36, 1357-1360.

Buchholz, J.T. & Gray, N.E. 1948. A taxonomic revision of Podocarpus. I. The sections of the genus and their subdivisions with special reference to leaf anatomy. Journal of Arnold Arboretum 50, 49-63.

Butterworth, M.A. & Williams, R.W. 1954. Description of nine species of small spores from the British Coal Measures. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History 12(7), 753-764.

Cleal, C.J. & Shute, C.H. 2003. Systematics of the Late Carboniferous medullosalean pteridosperm Laveineopteris and its associated Cyclopteris leaves. Palaeontology 46(2), 353-411.View article

Corda, A.C.J. 1845. Beiträge zur Flora der Vorwelt. 128 pp. C.J. Calvesche Buchhandlung, Prag.

Costanza, S.H. 1985. Pennsylvanioxylon of Middle and Upper Pennsylvanian coals from the Illinois Basin and its comparison with Mesoxylon. Palaeontographica B 197(4-6), 81-121.

Cridland, A.A. 1964. Amyelon in American coal balls. Palaeontology 7, 186-209.

Crookall, R. 1970. Fossil plants of the Carboniferous rocks of Great Britain. Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great Britain. 2nd section. Palaeontology 4(6), 793-840.

Daghlian, C.P.& Taylor, N.T. 1979. A new method for isolating pollen and spores from acetate peels for scanning electron microscopy. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 27(1), 85-89.View article

Darrah, W.C. 1952. The material and methods of palaeobotany. Palaeobotanist 1, 145-153.

Delevoryas, T. 1953. A new male cordaitean fertile organ from the Kansas Carboniferous. American Journal of Botany 40, 144-150.View article

DiMichele, W.A. & Philips, T.L. 1994. Paleobotanical and Paleoecological constraints on models of peat formation in the Late Carboniferous of Euramerica. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 106, 39-90.View article

Dybová, S. & Jachowitz, A. 1957. Microspores of the Upper Silesian Coal Measures. Prace Institutu geologicznego 23, 1-328.

Ettingshausen, C. 1852. Die Steinkohlenflora von Stradonitz in Böhmen. Abhandlungen der Kaiserlich-königlichen geologischen Reichsanstalt in Wien 1(3), 1-18.

Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2003. Late Carboniferous Tropical Dryland Vegetation in an Alluvial-plain Setting, Joggins, Nova Scotia, Canada. Palaios 18, 197-211.View article

Falcon-Lang, H.J. 2005. Small cordaitalean trees in a marine- influenced coastal habitat in the Pennsylvanian Joggins Formation, Nova Scotia. Journal of the Geological Society of London 162, 485-500.View article

Falcon-Lang, H.J. & Bashforth, A.R. 2004. Pennsylvanian uplands were forested by gigant cotdaitalean trees. Geology 32(5), 417-420.View article

Falcon-Lang, H.J. & Scott, A.C. 2000. Upland ecology of some Late Carboniferous cordaitalean trees from Nova Scotia and England. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 156, 225-242.View article

Feistmantel, O. 1876. Versteinerungen der böhmischen Kohlen- ablagerungen, 3. Palaeontographica, Band 23, 223-316.

Felix, C.J. & Burdbridge, P.P. 1967. Palynology of the Springer Formation of southern Oklahoma, U.S.A. Palaeontology 10, 349-425.

Florin, R. 1931. Untersuchungen zur Stammesgeschichte der Coniferales und Cordaitales. Kunglige Svenska vetenskapsakademiens handlingar, Serie III 10(1), 1-588.

Florin, R. 1936. On the structure of the pollen-grains in the Cordaitales. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 30, 624-651.

Fry, W.L. 1956. New cordaitean cones from the Pennsylvanian of Iowa. Journal of Paleontology 30, 35-45.

Grand’Eury, C. 1877. Flore carbonifere du départment da la Loire et du centre de la France. Mémoires présentés par divers savants a l’Académie des Sciences, Premiere partie - Botanique. 624 pp. Imprimerie Nationale, Paris.

Havlena, V. 1971. Dvě rostlinné zkameněliny nové pro namur hornoslezské pánve (Two new plant fossils found in the Namurian of the Upper Silesian Basin). Časopis pro mineralogii a geologii 16(4), 449-451.

Ignatiev, I.A. & Meyen, S.V. 1989. Suchoviella - gen. nov. from the Permian of Angaraland and a review of the systematics of Cordaitanthales. Reviev of Palaeobotany and Palynolynology 57, 313-339.View article

Kalibová, M. 1965. New species of miospores from the Bohemian Stephanian. Sborník geologických věd, Paleontologie 6, 39-59.

Kerp, H. 1990. The study of fossil gymnosperms by means of cuticular analysis. Palaios 5, 548-549.View article

Kerp, H. & Krings, M. 1999. Light microscopy of fossil cuticles, 52-56. In Jones, T.P. & Rowe, N.P. (eds) Fossil plants and spores. Modern techniques. Geological Society, London.

Kidston, R. 1911. Les végétaux houillers recueillis dans le Hainaut Belge. Mémoires du Musée royal d’histoire naturelle de Belgique 5(4), 1-282.

Kosanke, R.M. 1950. Pennsylvanian spores of Illinois and their use in correlation. Illinois Geological Survey Bulletin 74, 1-128.

Kosanke, R.M. 1982. Illustrations and comments concerning the type specimens of Calamospora, Florinites, and Raistrickia. Journal of Paleontology 56(5), 1171-1176.

Krings, M. & Kerp, H. 1997. An improved method for obtaining large pteridosperm cuticles. Review of Palaebotany and Palynology 96, 453-456.View article

Kvaček, J. & Straková, M. 1997. Catalogue of fossil plants described in works of Kaspar M. Sternberg. 201 pp., 67 pls. National Museum, Prague.

Lee, Hsing-Hsüeh 1963. Fossil plants of the Yuehmenkou Series, North China. Palaeontologia Sinica, New Series A 148(6), 100-186.

Lesquereux, L. 1880. Description of the coal flora of the Carboniferous formation in Pennsylvania and throughout the United states. Pennsylvania 2nd Geological Survey Report Progress 1, 1-354; 2, 355-694, pl. 86, Atlas 1879, pls 1-85.

Lesquereux, L. 1884. Description of the coal flora of the Carboniferous formation in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania 2nd Geological Survey Report Progress 3, 695-977, pls 88-111.

Lindley, J. & Hutton, W. 1837. The fossil flora of Great Britain, or figures and descriptions of the vegetable remains found in a fossil state in the country. Volume 3, 123-205. James Rigdway & Sons, London.

Mašek, J. 1963. Složení a vznik brouskového horizontu ve středočeské kamenouhelné pánvi (Die Zussammensetzung und Entstehung des Schleifsteinhorizontes im Mittelböhmischen Steinkohlbecken). Časopis pro mineralogii a geologii 8, 175-177.

Meyen, S.V. 1984. Basic features of gymnosperm systematics and phylogeny as evidenced by the fossil record. The Botanical Review 50(1), 1-112.View article

Meyen, S.V. 1987. Fundamentals of palaeobotany. 432 pp. Chapman & Hall, London.

Millay, M.A. & Taylor, T.N. 1974. Morphological studies of Paleozoic saccate pollen. Palaeontographica, Abteilung B 147, 75-99.

Millay, M.A. & Taylor, T.N. 1976. Evolutionary trends in fossil gymnosperm pollen. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. Patterns in gymnosperm evolution 21(1), 65-91. Němejc, F. 1968. Paleobotanika III. 478 pp. Academia, Praha.View article

Newberry, J.S. 1873. Description of fossil plants from the Coal Measures of Ohio. Ohio Geological Survey Report 1(2), Palaeontology 3, 359-385.

Niklas, K.J. 1994. Predicting the height of fossil plant remains: an allometric approach to an old problem. American Journal of Botany 81, 1235-1243.View article

Opluštil, S. 2005. Evolution of the Middle Westphalian river valley drainage system in central Bohemia (Czech Republic) and its palaeogeographic implication. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 222, 223-258.View article

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M. & Bek, J. 2005. Peat-forming plant assemblages conserved in volcanic ash of the Whetstone Horizon (Bolsovian) in central and western Bohemia, Czech Republic. North American Paleontology Convention, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. PaleoBios 25, Supplement 2, 92-93.

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M. & Šimůnek, Z. 2007. Vegetation patterns of Westphalian and Lower Stephanian mire assemblages preserved in tuff beds of thecontinental basins of Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 143, 107-154.View article

Opluštil, S., Pšenička, J., Libertín, M., Bashforth, A.R., Šimůnek, Z., Drábková, J. & Dašková, J. 2009. A Middle Pennsylvanian (Bolsovian) peat-forming forest preserved in situ in volcanic ash of the Whetstone Horizon in the Radnice Basin, Czech Republic. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 155, 234-274.View article

Peppers, R.A. 1970. Correlation and palynology of coals in the Carbondale and Spoon formations (Pennsylvanian) of the northeastern part of the Illinois Basin. Illinois State Geological Survey Bulletin 93, 1-173.

Pešek, J. 1994. Carboniferous of Central and Western Bohemia (Czech Republic). 64 pp. Czech Geological Survey, Prague.

Potonié, R. 1962. Regeln, nach denen sich die Sekundaerfalten der Sporen bilden. Palaeontologische Zeitschrift 36(1-2), 46-54.

Potonié, R. 1967. New phylogenetic facts on fossil spores. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 1(1-4), 75-82.View article

Potonié, R. & Kremp, G. 1956. Die Sporae dispersae des Ruhrkarbons; ihre Morphographie und Stratigraphie mit Ausblicken auf Arten anderer Gebiete und Zeitabschnitte, Teil II. Palaeontographica, Abteilung B 99, 85-186.

Ravn, R.L. 1979. An introduction to the stratigraphic palynology of the Cherokee Group (Pennsylvanian) coals of Iowa. Iowa Geological Survey, Technical Paper 6, 1-117.

Renault, B. 1879. Structure comparée de quelques tiges de la flore Carbonifere. Nouvelles Archives du Muséum d’histoire naturelle de Paris 2, 213-348.

Renault, B. 1881. Cours de botanique fossile. Volume 1. 184 pp. G. Masson, Paris.

Renault, B. 1896. Études des gîtes mineraux de la France. Bassin houiller et permien d’Autun et d’Épinac. IV. Flore fossile, I. 578 pp. Imprimerie Nationale, Paris.

Rothwell, G.W.&Warner, S. 1984. Cordaixylon dunusum n. sp. (Cordaitales) I. Vegetative structures. Botanical Gazette 145(2), 275-291.View article

Schopf, J.M.,Wilson, L.R.&Bentall, R. 1944. An annotated synopsis of Paleozoic fossil spores and the definition of generic groups. Illinois State Geological Survey, Report of investigations 28(10), 1-73.

Seward, A.C. 1917. Fossil plants. Volume III. Pteridospemae, Cycadofilices, Cordaitales, Cycadophyta. 656 pp. Hafner Publishing Company, New York & London (reprint 1963).

Šimůnek, Z. 2000. Cuticles of Cordaites from the Westphalian, Stephanian and Autunian of the Bohemian Massif (Czech Republic). A preliminary report. Acta Palaeobotanica 40(1), 25-34.

Šimůnek, Z. 2001. Kordaity svrchního karbonu a permu Českého masivu (Cordaites from the Upper Carboniferous and Permian of the Bohemian Massif; A study of epidermal structures). 125 pp. Ph.D. thesis, Czech Geological Survey, Prague. [in Czech]

Šimůnek, Z. 2007. New classification of the genus Cordaites from the Carboniferous and Permian of the Bohemian Massif, based on cuticle micromorphology. Sborník Národního muzea v Praze, Řada B - přírodní vědy 62(3-4), 97-210.

Šimůnek, Z. & Libertín,M. 2006. Cordaites schatzlarensis sp. nov. and Samaropsis newberryi (Andrews) Seward from the Westphalian (Carboniferous) of the Žacléř area (Czech Republic). Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 138, 43-62.View article

Sternberg, K. von 1820. Versuch einer geognostisch-botanischer Darstellung der Flora der Vorwelt I, 1. 24 pp. F. Fleischer, Leipzig.

Sternberg, K. von 1821. Versuch einer geognostisch-botanischer Darstellung der Flora der Vorwelt I, 2. 33 pp. F. Fleischer, Leipzig.

Sternberg, K. von 1825. Versuch einer geognostisch-botanischer Darstellung der Flora der Vorwelt I, 4. 48 pp. Ernst Brenck’s, Regensburg.

Sternberg, K. von (Presl, C.B & Corda, A.J. co-authors) 1838. Versuch einer geognostisch-botanischer Darstellung der Flora der Vorwelt II, 7/8, 81-220. Gotlieb Hässe Söhne, Prague.

Stockey, R.A. & Atkinson, I.A. 1993. Cuticle micromorphology of Agathis Salisbury. International Journal of Plant Sciences 154(1), 187-225.View article

Stockey, R.A., Frevel, B.J. & Woltz, P. 1998. Cuticle micromorphology of Podocarpus, subgenus Podocarpus, section Scytopodium (Podocarpaceae) of Madagascar and South Africa. International Journal of Plant Sciences 159(6), 923-940.

Stockey, R.A., Ko, H. & Woltz, P. 1992. Cuticle micromorphology of Falcatifolium De Laubenfels (Podocarpaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 153(4), 589-601.View article

Stockey, R.A., Ko, H. & Woltz, P. 1995. Cuticle micromorphology of parasitaxus De Laubenfels (Podocarpaceae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 156(5), 723-730.View article

Taylor, N.T. 1981. Pollen and pollen organ evolution in early seed plants,1-25. In Niklas, K.J. (ed.) Paleobotany, paleoecology and evolution, vol. 1. Praeger, New York.

Taylor, N.T. 1988. Pollen and Pollen organs of fossil gymnosperms: phylogeny and reproductive biology, 117-217. In Beck, C.B. (ed.) Origin and Evolution of Gymnosperms. Columbia University Press, New York.

Trivett, M.L. & Rothwell, G.W. 1985. Morphology, systematics, and paleoecology of Paleozoic fossil plants: Mesoxylon priapi sp. nov. (Cordaitales). Systematic Botany 10(2), 205-223.View article

Turek, V. 1989. Fish and amphibian trace fossils from Westphalian sediments of Bohemia. Palaeontology 32(3), 623-643.

Unger, F. 1850. Genera et species plantarum fossilium. 627 pp. Wilhelm Braunmüller, Wien.

Van Amerom, H.W.J. 1998. Fossilium Catalogus Plantae. Pars 99, Cordaitales und einige Vertreter der Monocotylen 1. Supplement. 195 pp. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden.

Weithofer, K.A. 1902. Geologische Skizze des Kladno-Rakonitzer Kohlenbeckens. Verhandlungen der Kaiserlichköniglichen geologischen Reichsanstalt, 399-420.

Zeiller, R. 1886-1888. Études des gîtes minéraux de la France. Flore fossile du bassin houiller de Valencienes. 731 pp. (text 1888), pls 1-94 (Atlas 1886). Quantin, Paris.

Zodrow, E.L.,Mastalerz,M. & Šimůnek, Z. 2003. FTIR-derived characteristics of fossil-gymnosperm leaf remains of Cordaites principalis and Cordaites borassifolius (Pennsylvanian Maritimes Canada and Czech Republic). International Journal of Coal Geology 55, 95-102.View article