Turonian sediments from New Jersey have produced a wide array of angiosperm floral and fruit remains. These sediments are ca. 90 million years old, and constitute the oldest records for several important angiosperm clades, some very specific (e.g., Clusiaceae) and others much more generalized (e.g., a broad array of ericalean taxa). Within this assemblage are several examples of what can be considered to be proto-fagaceous remains, consisting of tricarpellate epigynous bisexual flowers along with similar flowers that appear to lack ovaries and are functionally male. These flowers are found isolated but also sometimes attached to axes with complexes of bracts that are probably homologous to cupules found in modern Fagaceae. However, these cupule-like structures are much more highly branched, and probably less regular in pattern, than are modern fagaceous cupules. In combination, these fossils provide a view of early fagaceous diversity that would not be predicted directly from analysis of extant taxa alone, and reiterate the value of fossil and morphological studies in combination with both morphological and molecular analyses of modern taxa.

Key words: cupule, Fagaceae, flowers, fossil, phylogeny, Turonian