Fokienia Shengxianensis SP. Nov. (Cupressaceae) From the Late Miocene of Eastern China and Its Paleoecological Implications

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Twenty-one fossil foliage, identified as Fokienia shengxianensis sp. nov. (Cupressaceae), were collected from the upper Miocene Shengxian Formation in Tiantai and Ninghai counties, Zhejiang Province of eastern China. These fossils can likely be distinguished from other extant genera in the family Cupressaceae s.l. except Fokienia by leaf external morphology alone. Foliar cuticular comparison with the only modern species in this genus, Fokienia hodginsii Henry et Thomas, further suggests that the present fossil species closely resembles the modern counterpart. Paleoecologically, the occurrence of Fokienia from the Shengxian Formation appears to support that the fossil site was covered by subtropical evergreen broad-leaved forest and under warm and humid conditions during the late Miocene, consistent with evidence from previously published fossil plants.