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Morphogenesis of the Specialized Peridermal Tissues in Decodon Allenbyensis from the Middle Eocene Princeton Chert

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Aquatic tissues in the submerged axes of Decodon allenbyensis Cevallos- Ferriz et Stockey are investigated and described in detail. Numerous well-preserved roots have primary aerenchymatous cortex and no secondary vascular tissues while other axes show transitions to secondary xylem and phloem, as well as periderm composed of thin-walled lacunate phellem. Phellem appears similar to the primary aerenchyma seen in aquatic roots of species of Ludwigia L.; however, similar lacunate tissue in extant Decodon verticillatus (L.) Ell. is secondary (phellem) and this study shows this tissue to be homologous to that seen in the fossil Decodon J.F. Gmel. A complex rhytidome is described in the largest fossil axes. It is composed of alternating bands of 'phelloids' and bands of non-active phloem with lacunae. This complex aquatic rhytidome is currently unknown in other living or fossil taxa.


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