A Whole Plant Herbaceous Angiosperm from the Middle Jurassic of China
Han et al
In contrast to woody habit with secondary growth, truthful herbaceous habit lacking secondary growth is restricted to angiosperms among seed plants. Although angiosperms might have occurred as early as in the Triassic and herbaceous habit theoretically may have been well adopted by pioneer angiosperms, pre-Cretaceous herbs are missing hitherto, leaving the origin of herbs and evolution of herbaceous angiosperms mysterious. Here we report Juraherba bodae gen. et sp. nov, a whole plant herbaceous angiosperm, from the Middle Jurassic (greater than 164 Ma) at Daohugou Village, Inner Mongolia, China, a fossil Lagerst?tten that is worldwide famous for various fossil finds. The angiospermous affinity of Juraherba is ensured by its enclosed ovules/seeds. The plant is small but complete, with physically connected hairy root, stem, leaves, and fructifications. The Middle Jurassic age recommends Juraherba as the earliest record of herbaceous seed plants, demanding a refresh look at the evolutionary history of angiosperms.