Leonophyllum tenellum, an enigmatic plant from the Early Jurassic of the Mecsek

Maria Barbacka, Grzergorz Pacyna, Artur Górecki & Evelyn Kustatscher

The Early Jurassic flora of the Mecsek Mountains is diverse, with numerous representatives of ferns, seed ferns, cycadophytes, ginkgophytes, and conifers. Its (para-)autochthonous deposition, good preservation and low collection bias has permitted researchers to save delicate, small plant remains that would generally be missing from the fossil record. These plant fossils are characterized by having a “filmy” (probably unilayered) structure, thin stalks with flat leaf-like branches and ultimate irregular segments with streamlined epidermal cells having thick cell walls. Due to the absence of sporangia, the plant remains cannot be confidently assigned to any higher plant group, although they show some similarities to thalloid liverworts with raised vegetative bodies and also have some resemblance to the fern family Hymenophyllaceae. The new genus and species Leonophyllum tenellum Barbacka et Kustatscher is erected.

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