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Records of Cooksonia-type sporangia from late Wenlock strata in Ireland

Naturevolume 287pages4142 (1980) | Download Citation



Hitherto the earliest record of a fossil flora containing Cooksonia type sporangia was from a mid-Ludlow (Silurian) locality in Wales1. The compression fossils illustrated here (Figs 1–4) come from strata assigned to the highest graptolite zone of the Wenlock Series characterized by Monograptus ludensis. They were collected (by J. F.) in the Devilsbit Mountain district of County Tipperary, Ireland. But this is not just a record of the first appearance of a genus which extends to the end of the Lower Devonian, because Cooksonia has generally been accepted as a vascular plant2. Its occurrence at the top of the Wenlock therefore seems to extend the history of vascular plants back to the middle of the Silurian and to indicate that higher plants colonized land surfaces at least 415 Myr ago.

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  1. Department of Plant Science, University College, Cardiff, CF1 1XL, UK

    • D. Edwards
  2. Department of Geology, Trinity College, Dublin, 2, Ireland

    • J. Feehan


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