Most molecular phylogenies suggest that there are two well supported clades in the Nymphaeales: the Cabombaceae clade and the Nymphaeaceae - Barclayaceae clade. Recently flowers of the Nymphaeaceae - Barclayaceae clade have been described from the Lower Cretaceous of South America and Europe, whereas we describe vegetative evidence of the Cabombaceae clade. The Brasenia-like fossils have leaves with long petioles which are attached to slender shoots in an alternate arrangement. The leaves are orbicular, simple with entire margins, and peltate with the petiole attached at the center. The venation is palmate with four, sometimes five, primary veins. One primary has pinnate secondaries while the others, grouped proximally, branch dichotomously. The primaries and secondaries curve to form brochidodromous loops. The tertiaries are variable and intergrade with the quaternaries in a reticulate to random reticulate manner. The affinities to the nymphaeoids is based on the peltate attachment, leaf shape, leaf architectural characters, and the apparent aquatic nature of the leaves and stems. The shape of the leaf and the aquatic shoots, as opposed to rhizomes, are restricted to the Cabombaceae clade. The minimum ages for both groups of fossils are Albian. Yet molecular phylogenetic analyses of living members suggest that the two clades diverged within the Nymphaeales after a long period of shared ancestry. This is in contrast to the ITA clade and the Chloranthaceae, both which have shorter stems of molecular divergence and greater divergence of the individual end members. This may have importance implications for reconciling molecular clock results and the differences among molecular and morphological phylogenies.

Key words: Cabombaceae, fossil, Lower Cretaceous, molecular evolution, Nymphaeales, phylogeny