The Miocene flora of Alum Bluff, Liberty County, Florida

Open access


The plant fossils of Alum Bluff, northwestern Florida, provide a unique insight into the rarely preserved Miocene flora of the eastern United States. A century has passed since the introductory treatment on the fossil leaf flora of Alum Bluff. More specimens have accumulated over the past two decades, allowing for an updated evaluation of the megafossil flora following a recent study of the palynoflora. The strata consisting of poorly consolidated sand and siltstones with intervening clay layers, here recognized as the Fort Preston Formation of the Alum Bluff Group, are considered to be of Barstovian age (16.3–13.6 Ma), based on co-occurring mammalian remains. Here we recognize 36 kinds of leaves and 10 kinds of fruits and seeds, giving a minimum estimate of at least one fungus, one fern, one gymnosperm, 38 angiosperms and 7 unknowns. We also report one new species and two new combinations. These taxa augment those already reported based on pollen from the same strata, allowing us to portray the vegetation as elm-hickory-cabbage palm forest occurring near the coastline in a deltaic, pro-deltaic, or intertidal shore face environment. The results of a climate analysis of the Alum Bluff flora, using leaf margin and leaf area, give estimates of 19.0°C mean annual temperature and 116.0 cm mean annual precipitation.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • AYENSU E.S. 1966. Taxonomic status of Trichopus: anatomical evidence. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 59: 425–430.

  • BARUAH A. & NATH S.C. 1997. Foliar epidermal characters in twelve species of Cinnamomum Schaeffer (Lauraceae) from Northeastern India. Phytomorphology 47(2): 127–134.

  • CHRISTOPHEL D.C. & ROWETT A.I. 1996. Leaf and cuticle atlas of Australian leafy Lauraceae. Flora of Australia Supplementary Series 6: 1–217.

  • CONOVER M.V. 1991. Epidermal patterns of the reticulate-veined Liliiflorae and their parallelveined allies. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 107(3): 295–312.

  • CONRAN J.G. CARPENTER R.J. & JORDAN G.J. 2009. Early Eocene Ripogonum (Liliales: Ripogonaceae) leaf macrofossils from southern Australia. Aust. Syst. Bot. 22(3): 219–228.

  • CONRAN J.G. & CLIFFORD H.T. 1985. The taxonomic affinities of the genus Ripogonum. Nord. J. Bot. 5: 215–219.

  • DING S.T. SUN B.N. WU J.Y. & LI X.C. 2011. Miocene Smilax leaves and associated epiphyllous fungi from Zhejiang East China and their paleoecological implications. Rev. Palaeobot. Palynol. 165(3–4): 209–223.

  • DIRR M.A. 2007. Viburnums. Flowering Shrubs for Every Season. Timber Press Portland Oregon U.S.A.: 1–262.

  • ETTINGHAUSEN C.R. 1886. Die Blatter-Skelete der Dikofyledonen mit besonderer Rücksicht auf die Untersuchung und Bestimmung der fossilen Pflanzenreste. Wien.

  • FERGUSON D.K. 1971. The Miocene flora of Kreuzau Western Germany. I. The leaf-remains. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen Afd. Natuurkunde Tweede Reeks Dell 60(1): 1–297

  • FERGUSON D.K. 1974. The significance of the leaf epidermis for the taxonomy of Cocculus (Menispermaceae). Kew Bull. 29(3): 483–492.

  • GANGADHARA M. & INAMDAR J.A. 1977. Trichomes and stomata and their taxonomic significance in the Urticales. Plant Syst. Evol 127: 121–137.

  • KLUCKING E.P. 1987. Leaf Venation Patterns Volume 2 Lauraceae. J. Cramer Berlin.

  • POLE M.S. 2007. Monocot macrofossils from the Miocene of southern New Zealand. Palaeontologia Electronica 10(3.14A): 1–21.

  • UPADHYAY N. TRIVEDI B.S. & VERMA C.L. 1989. Foliar epidermal studies in Indian Jasminum. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 31(1–4): 136–148.

Journal information
Impact Factor

CiteScore 2018: 1.16

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.402
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.616

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 319 319 153
PDF Downloads 336 336 64