A new genus for isolated bivalved sporangia with thickened margins from the Lower Devonian of the Welsh Borderland


*E-mail: edwardsd2@cardiff.ac.uk


A new taxon Sporathylacium salopense gen. et sp. nov. is based on small isolated coalified sporangia from the Lower Devonian (Lochkovian: micrornatus—newportensis spore zone) from the Welsh Borderland. The sporangia have two equal valves with multi-layered walls and thickened borders, and contain trilete crassitate, non-curvaturate isospores that are completely covered by a microgranular ornament with possible distal verrucate/murornate structures. They differ from zosterophyll sporangia in details of the presumed dehiscence zone extending around the entire free convex margin, particularly in the presence of a wedge of amorphous material between the valves, and in spore characters. Absence of any information relating to water-conducting cells prevents further assignment within the embryophytes. Spherical bodies associated with spores and a resilient sporangial lining are compared with similar structures in extant free-sporing plants and with Ubisch bodies. The mode of sporangial dehiscence involving anatomical modifications of the valve margins and the novel wedge of tissue which connects them remains speculative.