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Cantitilia ("Kentish Lime") is a fossil genus known from seeds found in the Eocene London Clay strata of northern Kent (Isle of Sheppey and Herne Bay). On the basis of a detailed microstructural analysis Read and Chandler classify this genus as closely related to Tilia. Cantitilia differs from Tilia in having more (5) ovules in an ovary locule, and in the mature fruit being 2–3-seeded (most ovules not maturing), as opposed to the single-seeded state characteristic of Tilia.

The seeds of Cantitilia are syncarpous capsules. They are (4–)5-locular, many-ovulate, but with few maturing seeds, with axile placentation, and loculicidal dehiscence.

There are two known species (as of 1961), C. polysperma Reid and Chandler, and C. lobata Chandler. The fruits of the former are ovoid, 6½-13 mm long, 5-11½ mm wide, with seeds 4 to 5 mm long, 3 to 5½ mm wide. The fruits of the latter are deeply 5-lobed, 6 cm long by 11 mm across, with seeds about 4½ mm long and 3¾ mm broad.

Other names for C. polysperma are Wetherellia variabilis Bowerbank and Solenostrobus semiplotus. The type of Wetherellia is now considered to be of uncertain affinity, but to most likely to be related to Euphorbiaceae or Meliaceae.3

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  1. Elanor Mary Reid & Marjorie Elizabeth Jane Chandler, London Clay Flora (1933)
  2. Marjorie Elizabeth Jane Chandler, The Lower Tertiary Floras of Southern England I (1961)
  3. S. R. Manchester, personal communcation (2003)