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Lepidodendron Tree Branch Fossil A.jpg


Lepidodendron Tree Branch Fossil


Kentucky, USA
Carboniferous, Pennsylvanian Period - 323.2-298.9 million years ago
Lepidodendron — also known as scale tree — is an extinct genus of primitive, vascular, arborescent (tree-like) plant related to the lycopsids (club mosses). They were part of the coal forest flora. They sometimes reached heights of over 30 metres (100 ft), and the trunks were often over 1 m (3.3 ft) in diameter. They thrived during the Carboniferous Period (about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya (million years ago) to about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya) before going extinct. Sometimes erroneously called "giant club mosses", they were actually more closely related to today's quillworts than to modern club mosses. The name Lepidodendron comes from the Greek lepido, scale, and dendron, tree. By the Mesozoic era, the giant lycopsids had died out and were replaced by conifers as well as smaller Quillworts. This may have been the result of competition from the emerging woody gymnosperms. Lepidodendron is one of the more common plant fossils found in Pennsylvanian (Late Carboniferous) age rocks. They are closely related to other extinct Lycopsid genera, Sigillaria and Lepidendropsis.
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Lycopodiophyta
Class: Isoetopsida
Order: Lepidodendrales
Family: Lepidodendraceae
Genus: Lepidodendron

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