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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
Scientific classification
P. splendens
Binomial name
Palaeoaldrovanda splendens
Knobloch & Mai (1984)

Palaeoaldrovanda splendens is a form taxon of uncertain identity.

It was for a long time thought to be an extinct angiosperm allied to the carnivorous plant genus Aldrovanda.[1] Anderson et al. (2005) wrote: "synapomorphic characters that link the fossils seeds [of P. splendens] to extant Aldrovanda include hard testa with an outer epidermis of palisade cells and with a smooth, strongly reflecting surface, short micropylar neck, and extruding, pointed chalazal area".[2]

However, research published by Heřmanová & Kvaček (2010) has cast doubt on this hypothesis. These authors identified the fossilised remains of Palaeoaldrovanda as insect eggs, writing:[3][4]

Palaeoaldrovanda is not a seed with a basic anatropical and bitegmic organisation; there is no evidence of a raphe, and the wall structure is simple. Palaeoaldrovanda does not show a clearly pronounced micropyle or chalaza. [...] Our new interpretation of Palaeoaldrovanda significantly influences the current view of the family Droseraceae. It is at least possible that this family did not evolve until the Tertiary. It may also influence the hypotheses of the first unequivocal appearance of carnivorous plants in general.

Palaeoaldrovanda is only known from fossils of the late TuronianSantonian Klikov beds of the Czech Republic.[5][6][3] These fossils represent the second oldest reported remains of a carnivorous plant, after Archaeamphora longicervia, which was described as a pitcher plant from the Early Cretaceous[7] (though its identity has also been questioned).[3][8]


  1. ^ Degreef, J.D. 1997. "Fossil Aldrovanda" (PDF). Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 26(3): 93–97.
  2. ^ Anderson, C.L., K. Bremer & E.M. Friis 2005. "Dating phylogenetically basal eudicots using rbcL sequences and multiple fossil reference points" (PDF). American Journal of Botany 92(10): 1737–1748.
  3. ^ a b c Heřmanová, Z. & J. Kvaček 2010. Late Cretaceous Palaeoaldrovanda, not seeds of a carnivorous plant, but eggs of an insect. Journal of the National Museum (Prague), Natural History Series, 179(9): 105–118.
  4. ^ Schlauer, J. 2012. Literature reviews. Carnivorous Plant Newsletter 41(3): 121.
  5. ^ Knobloch, E. & D.H. Mai 1984. Neue Gattungen nach Früchten and Samen aus dem Cenoman bis Maastricht (Kreide) von Mitteleuropa. Feddes Repert. (Berlin) 95: 3-41.
  6. ^ Knobloch, E. & D.H. Mai 1986. Monographie der Früchte und Samen in der Kreide von Mitteleuropa. Rozpravy ústredního ústavu geologickénho Praha 47: 1–219.
  7. ^ Li, H. 2005. "Early Cretaceous sarraceniacean-like pitcher plants from China" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-02. Acta Botanica Gallica 152(2): 227–234.
  8. ^ McPherson, S., A. Wistuba, A. Fleischmann & J. Nerz 2011. Sarraceniaceae of South America. Redfern Natural History Productions Ltd., Poole.