The names of fossil spores (sporae dispersae) follow the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN, Greuter & Hawksworth et al. 2001). This code formally recognizes whole-plant taxa (eutaxa), and form-genera and species (parataxa, i.e. dispersed spores, pollen grains, dissociated leaves, roots, fruits, seeds and other parts of plants). Morphology provides the only means of classifying dispersed spores and these are defined on the basis of the nature of the germinal opening, equatorial outline, wall stratification and sculpture and any structural modification or thickening of the spore wall. Generic names often reflect the morphology of the forms or perceived affinities (which can be misleading). Hughes (1989) advocated the abandonment of the Linnean System of taxonomy and nomenclature, suggesting a system based on biorecords. This system though more flexible has not been adopted. Jansonius & Hills (1976, and supplements) provide a catalogue and descriptions of fossil spore and pollen genera.
The most widely used classification scheme for spores is that proposed by Potonié (Potonié & Kremp 1954) with subsequent modifications. The outline classification for common and selected fossil spores and pollen is presented herein (Boxes 13.1-13.4) and follows that proposed by Playford & Dettmann (in Jansonius & McGregor 1996, vol. 1, pp. 227-261). When a morphological continuum occurs between species previously considered taxonomically distinct, the concept of the morphon can be used. Some mor-phons may reflect plant evolution.
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