Temporal range: Early Jurassic–Late Cretaceous
|Fossil seed cone of Williamsonia from the Jurassic period|
Areas where Williamsonia has been found
Williamsonia is an extinct genus of plant belonging to Bennettitales, an order of seed plants which bore a resemblance to cycads. Fossilized specimens of Williamsonia have been discovered worldwide.
Williamsonia was originally described as Zamia gigas by William Crawford Williamson. William Carruthers proposed the name Williamsonia in an 1870 paper of his, with the type species being W. gigas.
Williamsonia produced flowers up to 4 inches (10 cm) in length. Its stalked seeds would have grown from a central receptacle, and the entire flower of Williamsonia would have been surrounded by protective bracts (which are often the only part of the plant to undergo fossilization). The cones of Williamsonia were monosporangiate. They were "cup shaped" and could be up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) in diameter. As many as 25-50 ovules could be present in each cone. The development of the ovules appears to be similar to that of Cycadeoidea.
An anatomically preserved cone of Williamsonia has been discovered in Campanian rocks of Vancouver Island. This was the first reproductive structure of Williamsoniaceae to be recovered from western North America. Bennettitalean cones (8 centimetres (3.1 in) in length and 6 centimetres (2.4 in) in diameter) from the Crato Formation of Brazil may belong to Williamsonia, as well as finds from the Gristhorpe Beds of Cayton, England (in this case the specific species W. leckenbyi). In addition, W. harrisiana has been described from the Rajmahal Hills of India, as well as W. nizhoniamcdouldsd from the Chinle Formation of New Mexico.
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- Stockey, Ruth A.; Rothwell, Gar W. (March 2003). "Anatomically Preserved Williamsonia (Williamsoniaceae): Evidence for Bennettitalean Reproduction in the Late Cretaceous of Western North America". International Journal of Plant Sciences (The University of Chicago Press) 164 (2): 251–262. doi:10.1086/346166. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
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- Bose, M. N. (July 1968). "A new species of Williamsonia from the Rajmahal Hills, India". Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 61 (384): 121–127. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1968.tb00109.x. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Ash, Sidney R. (July 1968). "A new species of Williamsonia from the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation of New Mexico". Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Botany 61 (384): 113–120. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1968.tb00108.x. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Passo das Tropas, Santa Maria, RS. Marco bioestratigráfico triássico na evolução paleoflorística do Gondwana na Bacia do Paraná
- PRESENÇA DE BENETTITALES NO TRIÁSSICO SUL RIOGRANDENSE: O GÊNERO WILLIAMSONIA CARRUTHERS