Revisiting the mid-Permian Agay flora of the Estérel basin (Provence, south-east France)
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The conifer-dominated mid-Permian flora of Agay (Estérel Massif, Provence, south-east France) was first described by Visscher (1968). The present study revisits Visscher’s publication by collating it with new material, arriving at a total count of 282 fossils. The analysis of these fossils yielded a similar species list in which the conifer Ullmannia bronnii is by far the most abundant. Other commonly found conifers are Ullmannia frumentaria, Quadrocladus solmsii and Quadrocladus orobiformis. The remaining 8% of the assemblage, contains the seed fern Sphenopteris, the holotype of the (putative) ginkgophyte Esterella gracilis and several fossils of uncertain affinity (inter alia the holotype of Sp. A Boersma and Visscher (1969)). This species composition shows similarities to the coniferous late Permian Zechstein flora. Combining the most recent paleomagnetic data and radiometric dating with information from other Permian basins in the Provence suggests a Wordian (mid-Permian) age for the Estérel flora.