Notes on Homonymous Fossils

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A number of fossil genus names are later homonyms of malvaceous genera. As such they could be a cause of confusion when researching the literature. Therefore a summary is included here to document names that can be safely ignored.


Bernoullia Heer nom. illeg. is a later homonym of the bombacoid genus Bernoullia Oliv. It is a genus of Triassic ferns. The species Bernoullia aktjubensis Brik, Bernoullia helvetica Heer (type), Bernoullia lunzensis Stur, Bernoullia pecopteroides Feng et al, Bernoullia pseudolobifolia Yang and Bernoullia zeilleri Pan are transferred to the replacement genus Symopteris. Bernoullia heterophylla Heer is a synonym of Bernoullia helvetica. Bernoullia waehneri Stur may be a pteridosperm (seed fern). Bernoullia alethopteroides (Sze) Dobruskina and Bernoullia rigida (Sze) Dobruskina may also be seed ferns, and Bernoullia linnearifolia (Sze) Dobruskina best placed in the fern genus Phlebopteris. [1]


The genus Pterospermum E.Arber and species Pterospermum anglicum E.Arber were introduced for a 3-winged Carboniferous seed. This is clearly the introduction of a later homonym rather than placing the seed in the extant genus Pterospermum Schreb.. [2]


Ungeria Salfeld nom. illeg. (species Ungeria solnhofensis Salfeld) was described as a fern [3], but has subsequently been compared to Rhus [4]. It is an unidentifiable fragment of a pinnate leaf [4], unconnected with the helicteroid genus Ungeria Schott & Endl., and might represent a specimen of Symopteris [4].


  1. Evelyn Kustatscher, Christian Pott & Johanna H.A. van Konijnenburg-van Cittert, A contribution to the knowledge of the Triassic fern genus Symopteris, Rev. Palaeo. Palyno. 165: 41-60 (2011)
  2. Arber, E.A.N., A Revision of the Seed Impressions of the British Coal Measures, Annals of Botany 28(59): 104 (1914)
  3. H. Salfeld, Ein neues fossiles Farnkraut aus dem Solnhofer lithographischen Schiefer, Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie Jahrg. 385-386 (1908)
  4. Kräusel, R., Zur Geschichte der Angiospermen, Bot. Mag. (Tokyo) 69(822): 538-543 (1956)

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