First Record of Plant-Plant Facilitative Interaction from the Moscovian (Pennsylvanian, Upper Carboniferous) of North China


Fallen Logs Acting as a Seedbed for Trees to Aid the Regeneration of Vegetation is a Common Ecological Strategy in Modern Forests. However, the Origin, Occurrence, and Evolution of This Nurse Log Strategy in the Geological Time is Unclear. Here We Report a Ca. 310-Million-Year-Old Permineralized Cordaitalean Tree Trunk from the Moscovian (Pennsylvanian, Upper Carboniferous) Benxi Formation in Yangquan City, Shanxi Province, North China, with Evidence of Probable Cordaitalean Rootlets Growing Inside the Trunk. the Specimen is Interpreted as a Nurse Log for Regeneration of Cordaitaleans in Coastal Lowlands. It Provides the First Glimpse of Plant-Plant Facilitative Interaction between Pennsylvanian Cordaitaleans in Cathaysia. We Interpret that the Moscovian Cordaitalean Seedlings Preferentially Established on the Fallen Log Owing to the Ability of the Rotting Wood to Store Fresh Water. the Nurse Log Provided a Stable Substrate in an Environment with Episodic Salinity And/or Water Table Variations. in Combination with Previous Records, It is Suggested that a Sophisticated Terrestrial Ecosystem with Multiple Interactions between Plants and Other Organisms Have Developed on the Central North China Craton No Later Than the Middle Pennsylvanian.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering


National Science Foundation, Grant EAR 1714749

Keywords and Phrases

Anatomy; Benxi Formation; Cathaysia; Palaeoecology; Root

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Jan 2023