A small but diverse assemblage of pollen and spores recovered from marine sediments of the Avon Park Formation (middle Eocene) in west central Florida, represents the oldest land flora described from the state. Twenty-one pollen taxa from terrestrial plants, are identified from the Dolime Minerals and Gulf Hammock quarries. The presence of mangrove pollen associates such as Acrostichum, Nypa, and Pelliciera associated with seagrass macrofossils, combined with evidence from invertebrate fossils and sedimentary structures, suggest that the sediments of the Avon Park Formation, at these quarry sites, were deposited in a shallow marine lagoon, perhaps near the mouth of a river or stream in a protected area that had some tidal influence. This is the earliest report of terrestrial vegetation and near marine vegetation of Florida and documents the presence of a Florida landmass during middle Eocene time.
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Vol. 30 • No. 1