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Zonal plant communities of the Ribesalbes-Alcora Basin (La Rinconada mine, eastern Spain) during the early Miocene

Authors

  • José Mª Postigo-Mijarra,

    Corresponding author
    • Departamento de Silvopascicultura, Unidad de Botánica, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros de Montes, Universidad Politécnica, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, Spain
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  • Eduardo Barrón

    1. Museo Geominero, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España (IGME), Madrid, Spain
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Corresponding author. E-mail: jm.postigo@upm.es

Abstract

A study of the late early Miocene (Ramblian?–lower Aragonian) phytocoenosis of the La Rinconada mine (Ribesalbes-Alcora Basin, Province of Castellón, eastern Spain) led to the identification of 19 plant species showing mainly xeromorphic and/or sclerophyllous characteristics (three conifers and 16 dicotyledonous angiosperms). These plants mainly reflect the zonal vegetation that developed beyond the influence of the palaeolake known to have existed in the area. This vegetation was characterized by the presence of conifers, Pinus hepios and Juniperus section Sabina, associated with members of Anacardiaceae, Celastraceae, Fabaceae and Myricaceae, taxa that would have formed an evergreen forest with a shrubby component. These communities also included species adapted to life in damper environments, including Mahonia bilinica, Sophora assimilis, aff. Ormosia sp., ‘Sapindusfalcifolius and aff. Dombeyopsis lobata. New information regarding the leaf characteristics of Pistacia miocenica and Sophora assimilis is provided. The inferred zonal vegetation indicates the presence of evergreen–deciduous forests adapted to seasonally dry conditions (PFT 9), similar to those described for other parts of the Iberian Peninsula and elsewhere in Europe. The richness and diversity of the La Rinconada mine deposits provide insight into the zonal vegetation of the Ribesalbes-Alcora Basin, increasing our knowledge of the characteristics and evolution of the vegetation of south-western Europe during the Miocene. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2013, 172, 153–174.

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