11.2" Pennsylvanian Plant Fossil (Lepidodendron) Plate - Kentucky

This is an 11.2" wide plate with scale tree (Lepidodendron sp.) branch fossils, collected from Leslie County in Kentucky. The longest intact branch is about 6.15" in a straight line.

Lepidodendron, also known as scale trees, were primitive vascular plants, thriving in the swampy environments of the Carboniferous Period about 350 to 300 million years ago. Their closest modern relatives are club mosses. They reached heights comparable to modern trees, sometimes as high as 50 meters, or roughly 160 feet.

However, unlike most modern trees their growth habit was dichotomous: younger plants grew as a single stem, from which leaves protruded directly from the trunk. As they aged, the growing ends would split into new branches, eventually creating a fractal pattern similar to modern dragon trees.

Lepidodendron grew needle-like leaves from scale-like bases along stems, from which the plants are named. At the ends of branches were oval-shaped cones similar in shape to modern cones of a spruce or fir. These cones bore spores, and only grew from the crown.

Lepidodendron may have also been among the first plants to form mycorrhizal relationships with fungi, as fossil evidence between Lepidodendron "roots" (identical to stem tissues) and early fungal organisms has been found.

Comes with an acrylic-metal display stand.
Lepidodendron sp.
Leslie County, Kentucky
Breathitt Formation
Shale: 11.2 x 10.3"
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