Plant fossils in the Cassian beds and other Carnian formations of the Southern Alps (Italy)

Evelyn Kustatscher, Fabrizio Bizzarrini & Guido Roghi

Triassic macrofloras in the Southern Alps are rare, and the majority of literature data is devoted to Ladinian plants. The first plant remain from the Southern Alps, a not better defined “fern fragment”, has been illustrated by Wissmann and Münster (1841). Later, several authors mentioned and figured plant fossils from the so-called “Buchensteiner Schichten”, “Wengener Schichten” and “alpiner Muschelkalk” of the Dolomites (e.g., Mojsisovics, 1879; Ogilvie Gor-don, 1927, 1934; Leonardi, 1953; for an overview see Wachtler & van Konijnenburg-van Cittert, 2000). Only Koken (1913) indicated badly preserved plant remains from the Heiligkreuz Schichten without describing or figuring them.

Outside the Dolomites, only two more localities rich in Triassic plant remains were known: the Anisian flora of Re-coaro (e.g., De Zigno, 1862; Schenk, 1868) and the Carnian flora of Raibl/Cave del Predil (e.g., Bronn, 1858; Schenk, 1866-7, Stur, 1868, 1885).

In the last few years several outcrops were found, yielding well-preserved plant fossils, some of them are Carnian in age such as Dogna in the Julian Alps, Stuores near Corvara, Heiligkreuz near Badia and Rifugio Dibona section near Cortina in the Dolomites. These floras, together with the Raibl flora, give a nice overview on the Carnian floras of the Southern Alps.

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