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Taxonomic Groups

Angiosperms Bryophytes Caytoniales Conifers Cycadophytes Ferns Ginkgophytes Leptostrobaleans
Lycophytes Sphenophytes                




Arctic Fossil Lycophyte Images


The term "Lycophytes" is an informal name that encompasses modern and fossil members of the class Lycopodiopsida (Lycopsida). Living genera are Lycopodium, Selaginella and Isoetes. Lycophytes originated in the Devonian and have retained many of the features that arose at that time. Stems are typically dichtomously or pseudomonopodially branched. The microphylls (as distinct from true leaves) are helically arranged or flattened and organised in two ranks (e.g. Selaginella). Microphylls that subtend sporangia are known as sporophylls, are arranged helically, and are often aggregated in specialised strobili (as seen on the right).

Fossil forms are often ambiguous and without reproductive structures poorly preserved material may be assigned to the bryophytes.

  Photograph of a living species of Lycopodium  



Living fertile Lycopodium sp. in Hubei province,China. The repoductive strobili can be clearly seen on an erect stem arising from the ground-hugging prostrate vegetative stems.