The flora of Mataschen - A unique plant assemblage from the Late Miocene of eastern Styria (Austria)

Johanna Kovar-Eder, Lilla Hably

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Abstract

A late Miocene (early Pannonian) leaf assemblage from the clay pit Mataschen, eastern Styria, Austria, is analysed. Thirty-eight species were determined, most of them by cuticular analysis. Among azonal taxa, only Myrica lignitum, Platanus leucophylla, and Ulmus carpinoides are abundant, while Glyptostrobus europaeus, Alnus, Acer tricuspidatum, and Nyssa occur in single or few specimens only. Zonal species diversity is distinctly higher (27 taxa) than the diversity of azonal ones, and 60% of the zonal taxa were probably evergreen. Among them, Gordonia emanuelii Kovar-Eder sp. n., Gordonia pannonica Kovar-Eder sp. n., Gordonia styriaca Kovar-Eder sp. n., Schima mataschensis Kovar-Eder sp. n., Dicotylophyllum uhudler Kovar-Eder sp. n. (Ericaceae), and "Quercus" rhenanasimilis Kovar-Eder sp. n., are described for the first time. Symplocos rara Kovar-Eder sp. n. is introduced. Oleinites cf. liguricus and Smilax cf. protolanceaefolia are described from Austria for the first time. Five species of Lauraceae, 4 Theaceae, 2 Hamamelidaceae (among these cf. Distylium), one of Symplocos, and Trigonobalanopsis rhamnoides indicate close relations of this oryctocoenosis to floras of the "Younger Mastixioid" type that flourished in large parts of Europe during the early to early middle Miocene. The peculiar mixture of evergreen and deciduous taxa furthermore indicates relations to late Miocene/early Pliocene floras of southern parts of Europe (Romania, northern Mediterranean). In comparison, the similarities to the rich late Miocene Central European plant record are rather poor. Based on the floristic composition, the evergreen broad-leaved forests at their ecotone towards the mixed mesophytic forests of south-east Asia constitute the most closely related modern zonal vegetation type. They thrive under a warm and humid Cfa-climate with the MAT range of approximately 15 to 19°C, the MAP range of 1280-1950 mm., and no average temperature of the coldest month below 0°C, although occasional frosts are possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-233
Number of pages77
JournalActa Palaeobotanica
Volume46
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2006

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Keywords

  • Austria
  • Cuticles
  • Flora
  • Foliage
  • Mataschen
  • Miocene
  • Palaeoecology
  • Paleoclimate
  • Pannonian
  • Styria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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