Palynoflora of the late Paleocene silicified shale at Almont, North Dakota, USA

Reinhard Zetter, Michael J. Farabee, Kathleen Pigg, Steven R. Manchester, Melanie L. DeVore, Michael D. Nowak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A pollen and spore assemblage of 50 species was recovered from the late Paleocene (pollen zone P5) Almont locality in the Williston Basin, central North Dakota, USA. This palynoflora was extracted from the same layer containing a diverse megaflora preserved in a silicified shale with compressed leaves, and anatomically preserved fruits and seeds. More than 44 megafossil genera assignable to 26 extant plant families thus far have been recognized. The palynomorphs, which are of exceptional preservation, were examined using the same-grain technique with both light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Additional LM and SEM studies augmented the same grain studies to provide an understanding of sculptural features, and additional, rare taxa. Of particular note are the in situ pollen types known from catkins and pollen cones, allowing for confirmation of the dispersed pollen's systematic position by tying it to its parent plant. Taxa for which in situ pollen is known from Almont include taxodiaceous conifers, Betulaceae, Hamamelidaceae, Juglandaceae, and Platanaceae, and several catkins of uncertain affinities, some with monosulcate grains. This study emphasizes the role of palynology in providing an expanded view of the flora from palynomorphs for comparison with a rich megafossil assemblage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-211
Number of pages33
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Fort Union Group
  • Paleogene
  • Tiffanian
  • Williston Basin
  • fossil pollen and spores
  • insitu pollen
  • same grain study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Palaeontology


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