TWENTY years ago scarcely anything was known, even to those engaged in the study of vegetable fossils, of a land flora older than the great coal-formation. In 1860, Goeppert, in his Memoir on the plants of the Silurian, Devonian, and Lower Carboniferous, mentions only one land plant, and this of doubtful character, in the Lower Devonian. In the Middle Devonian he knew but one species; in the Upper Devonian he enumerated fifty-seven. Most of these were European, but he included also such American species as were known to him. The paper of the writer on the Land Plants of Gaspé was published in 1859, but had not reached Goeppert at the time when his memoir was written. This, with some other descriptions of American Devonian plants not in his possession, might have added ten or twelve species, some of them Lower Devonian, to his list. In the ten years from 1860 to the present time, the writer has been able to raise the Devonian flora of Eastern North America to 121 species, and reckoning those of Europe at half that number, we now have at least 180 species of land plants from the Devonian, besides a few from the Upper Silurian. We thus have presented to our view a flora older than that of the Carboniferous period, and, in many respects, distinct from it; and in connection with which many interesting geological and botanical questions arise.
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DAWSON, J. The Primitive Vegetation Of The Earth. Nature 2, 85–88 (1870). https://doi.org/10.1038/002085a0