This paper reports a new Early Cretaceous flora discovered recently near the village of Estercuel (Teruel province, northeastern Spain). The plant bearing beds belong to the uppermost part of the Early Cretaceous succession, at the top of the fluvial deposits of the Utrillas Formation. The site has yielded a diverse assemblage of plant compressions including lycopods and ferns, various gymnosperms as well as terrestrial and aquatic angiosperms. Leaves of aquatic lycopods (Isoetites sp.) constitute a minor component of the palaeobotanical assemblage. Filicales are not very common, with Dicksoniales (Onychiopsis sp.) and a few specimens of Cladophlebis type fronds. The gymnosperms are represented by fragmented remains of long parallel veined Desmiophyllum leaves as well as a great abundance of conifer axis corresponding to the form-genus Pagiophyllum and female cones. Terrestrial angiosperms include pinnately lobed leaves of the genus Myricompia, simple leaves with spatulate lamina and some petiolate leaves both corresponding to angiosperms of uncertain affinity. Aquatic angiosperms consist of Nelumbo-like floral receptacles (Nelumbonaceae, Proteales) and Aquatifolia cf. fluitans (Nympheales). The palynological assemblage is dominated by pollen of gymnosperms (mainly Taxodiaceaepollenites hiatus, Classopollis major and Araucariacites australis). It also includes many angiosperm grains (Afropollis jardinus, Clavatipollenites spp., Dichastopollenites spp., Liliacidites doylei, Monosulcites chaloneri, Penetetrapites mollis, Pennipollis spp., Phimopollenites augathellaensis, Retimonocolpites textus, Rousea spp., Senectotetradites varireticulatus, Stellatopollis barghoornii, Striatopollis spp., Transitoripollis sp. cf. T. similis, Tricolpites spp., Tricolporoidites sp.) and records the first occurrence of tricolporate forms in the uppermost part of the Utrillas Formation. Both macroflora and microflora assemblages present taxa similar to those of the uppermost Albian Shaftesbury Formation in northwestern Alberta in Canada, the uppermost Albian Denton Shale Member of Bokchito Formation in southern Oklahoma, the lower part of the Upper Albian Dakota Formation from the mid-west of North America, and Subzone II C of the Potomac Group, eastern United States. Both macro- and microflora assemblages display boreal influence with some similar taxa to those of the Upper Albian Kome Formation in western Greenland and some taxa as Afropollis jardinus and Stellatopollis barghoornii more frequently found in the tethyan and gondwanan realms. A gondwanan affinity is also indicated by the presence of Klitzschophyllites leaves.
Palaeobotany, palynology, angiosperms, Utrillas Formation, Late Albian, Spain