The abortion of certain spores, which is known to have taken place both in the homosporcus C. Binneyana and in the megasporangia of C. Casheana, may throw some light on the origin of the heterosporous condition.
Selaginellites elongatus, another heterosporous species, is remarkable for having no differentiated strobilus, a condition not known in the recent genus.
Hydropterideae.-Two very distinct orders of heterosporous Filicales, the Salviniaceae and the Marsiliaceae, are included in this group. The difficulty of determining their exact relationship to the other orders of Ferns is increased by the more or less completely aquatic habit of the plants and the modifications and reductions in structure associated with this.
In the absence of direct evidence from Palaeobotany, and bearing in mind the modifications associated with adaptation to an aquatic life in other plants, the recognition of any more definite affinity for these heterosporous ferns than that indicated above appears to be inadvisable.
In the heterosporous forms the gametophyte is more or less reduced (fig.
As general characteristics of the Lycopodiales, the simple form of the leaves, which are generally of small size, and the situation of the sporangia on the upper surface of the sporophylls, which are often associated in cones, close to their insertion on the axis, may be mentioned; there are both homosporous and heterosporous forms, the prothalli exhibiting corresponding differences.
That the cones were heterosporous there can be no doubt, though little is known as yet of the microsporangia.
In some of the heterosporous forms (Lepidocarpon, Miadesmia) the sporangia were sometimes surrounded by an integument; and since only a single megaspore attained maturity, the structure of the megasporangium suggests a comparison with an ovule.
The spores, as in the heterosporous Pteridophyta, are of two kindsmicrospores (pollen grains) borne in microsporangia (pollen sacs) on special leaves (sporophylls) known as stamens, and macrospores (embryo-sac) borne in macrosporangia (ovules) on sporophylls known as carpels.
The discovery of Sigillariostrobus, which was the fructification of Subsigillariae as well as of the ribbed species, has finally determined the question of the affinities of the genus, once keenly discussed; Sigillaria is now clearly proved to have been a genus of heterosporous Lycopods, with the closest affinities to Lepidodendron.