LINDBERGIA 25: 33-39. Lund 2000
New and interesting mosses from Baltic and Saxon amber
Frahm, J.-P. 2000. New and interesting mosses from Baltic and Saxon amber .
- Lindbergia 25: 33-39.
Eight mosses are recorded from Baltic and Saxon amber. Hypnodontopsisfossilis J.-P. Frahm is described as new. The extant species Trachycystis microphylla
(Dozy & Molk.) Lindb. is recorded for the first time as a fossil. Haplocladium
angustifolium (Hampe & C. M?ll.) Broth, is recorded once again in amber.
Additional specimens could be attributed to Dicranites casparyi R. Klebs, oth
ers could not be identified to genus.
J.-P. Frahm, Botanical Inst., Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universit?t,
Meckenheimer Allee 170, D-53115 Bonn, Germany.
Fossils in amber - in contrast to fossil plants and ani mals in other deposits
- are usually perfectly preserved and are therefore important sources for the reconstruc
tion of fossil floras and for the determination of ages of genera and species. The percentage of plant fossils in amber is, however, very poor: 99% of all fossils from Baltic amber consist of arthropods (Weitschat and Wichard 1998), less than 1% are phytogenic, and
bryophyte fossils account for an extremely small part of the plant fossils.
So far, eleven moss species from form genera, seven
extant species, nine apparently extinct species and numerous unidentified specimens are known from Baltic amber. In addition, two species from form gen era, three extant species and two species from extant
genera are known from Saxon amber (Frahm 1999a). The determination of fossil mosses from Baltic and
Saxon amber allows a more detailed knowledge of the flora of the 'amber forests', which were situated in the Eocene (38-54 MA BP, in contrast to previous estimates of a younger age) in the area of present Fennoscandia. In upper Eocene times the resin of co niferous trees was transported by rivers to secondary
deposits in an ocean south of these forests. According to the latest geological findings, the Saxon amber
originated by subsequent transport of the Baltic am
ber to Tertiary deposits in the Miocene. Plant fossils found in Baltic and Saxon amber thus belong to the same flora (Weitschat and Wichard 1998).
By courtesy of Mr Dirk Teuber (Bielefeld), Manfred Kutscher (Sassnitz) and Mrs and Mr Hoffeins (Ham
burg) I received some fossil mosses from Baltic and Saxon amber for determination. These contain sev
eral new and interesting records, which are compiled here. Unfortunately, only a small part of the fossil
mosses can be identified because characters necessary for determination are not visible, not preserved or not
present. Such unidentified specimens are, however, also listed to give an impression of the diversity of the moss flora of the Tertiary.
The specimens are kept in the collections of the collectors. B = Baltic amber, S
= Saxon amber.
Trachycystis microphylla (Dozy & Molk.) Lindb.
(B: Teuber 1606, Fig. 1)
The piece of amber contains three mosses, two of which belong to the genus Trachycystis. One of the
Trachycystis specimens consists of the upper part of a Accepted 19 November 1999 ? LINDBERGIA 2000
LINDBERGIA 25:1 (2000) 33
This content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Sun, 15 Jun 2014 12:18:00 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
plant with 20 erecto-patent leaves. The other also con
sists of an upper part of a plant, but with 13, more
patent leaves. The leaves are only 1.5-2 mm long and resemble those of the genus Mnium but have papil lose laminai cells.
The genus Trachycystis is known from the Tertiary of Europe from three species: Trachycystis antiquo rum (Cardot & Dixon) Kabiersch from the Pliocene of Reu ver (Reid and Reid 1915), Trachycystis szaferi Szafran from the Miocene of Poland (Szafran 1958) and Trachycystis flagellaris [Sull. & Lesq.] Lindb. from Baltic amber (Frahm 1994). Trachycystis antiq uorum and T. szaferi are regarded as extinct species, T. flagellaris occurs today in Eastern Asia. Another
species of Trachycystis, which is not identical to any of these three species, has been reported from Baltic amber (Frahm 1999a).
A key was given for two fossil and two of the three extant species of Trachycystis by Szafran (1958).
Keys, descriptions and illustrations for the three ex tant species of Trachycystis (T. flagellaris, T. micro
phylla [Dozy & Molk.] Lindb. and T. ussuriensis
[Maack & Regel] T. Kop.) were given by Koponen (1981) and Noguchi (1989). According to these au
thors, Trachycystis microphylla can be distinguished by unbordered leaves. The leaves are furthermore more
sharply pointed than those of the other species of
Trachycystis, which have blunt or Ungulate leaf api ces. The leaves are considerably shorter (1.5-2 mm) than those of extant specimens of the same species (3
mm), a phenomenon which has also been observed in other fossils of recent moss species. This may be at tributed to the fact that only small plants, which were
more easily blown into the resin than normally devel
oped plants, became embedded.
Conspicuously, the extant species of Trachycystis are growing on soil and rotten wood, but not epiphyti cally. This indicates that not only epiphytic species but also epigaeic and epilithic mosses were embed ded in resin. Fragments of these may either have been blown into the resin or covered by drops of resin.
Pleurocarpous moss (B: Teuber 1605, Fig. 2) The specimen consists of a single plant, which is bent over 90? in the upper third, and has 10 short branches. The leaves are narrowly lanceolate, finely pointed, and
apparently ecostate. They are distinctly patent, the leaf
apices are incurved. The specimen is apparently conspecific with Gr?hn 869, Wichard 326 and Teuber 1565 (Frahm 1999a).
Pleurocarpous moss (B: Teuber 1606a, Fig. 3, S: Hoffeins 962/2, Fig. 4, S: Kutscher 2b, Fig. 7-8) The piece of amber with two plants of Trachycystis microphylla (Teuber 1606) contains an apex of a stem or branch of a pleurocarpous moss with lanceolate leaves, which are ecostate, very narrow and long, 650
urn long and have prosenchymatous laminai cells. The basal leaves are widely patent, the upper leaves are convolute. Part of the plant is covered by air bubbles.
Kutscher 2b consists of two fragments of a pleuro carpous moss. The leaves are conspicuously distant
but crowded at the apex, narrowly lanceolate, finely pointed and ecostate. They are distinctly concave and have long, narrow laminai cells.
Hoff eins 962/2 consists of two 7- and 12-mm-long fragments of a pleurocarpous moss, which is densely covered by air bubbles. A short stem 4 mm long with 15 leaves can be studied in detail. It is compl?nate
with narrowly lanceolate, ecostate leaves and prosen chymatous cells. All plants are very similar and seem to belong to the same species. They resemble Broth erella sp. from Baltic amber (cf. Frahm 1996a), which
has, however, sharply dentate leaf apices.
Dicranites casparyi R. Klebs (B: Hoff eins 874, Fig. 5, S: Kutscher 2c, 3b) Hoffeins 874 consists of an almost complete plant of 4 mm length with a 6-mm-long seta, however without
sporangium. The basal leaves are 1.6 mm long, the
upper ones 2 mm. A small branch with leaves only 1 mm long originates at the base of the stem. The leaves are narrowly lanceolate, the costa ends in the leaf apex. The leaf margins are slightly serrate near the leaf apex. The laminai cells are round to quadrate and arranged in distinct rows. The lamina is only 5-10 cell rows
wide on both sides of the costa. Kutscher 2c, 3b consists of the upper part of plants
with a tuft of narrowly lanceolate leaves. The species gives the impression of a pottiaceous
plant, but the species of Pottiaceae usually have basal laminai cells of different shape and the upper laminai cells are usually papillose or mamillose, which is not the case in these specimens. Therefore they may be better regarded as Dicranaceae. Conspicuous are the
smooth, quadrate laminai cells in a few rows on each side of the costa.
The specimens strongly resemble the illustrations of the four syntypes of Dicranites casparyi (cf. Figs