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Club Mosses

Reconstruction of Lepidodendron sp.
Zoom in on Reconstruction of Lepidodendron sp. Reconstruction of Lepidodendron sp.
From Stewart and Rothwell, 1993
Club Mosses (Division Lycophyta)

The fossil lycophytes were much more diverse than the living ones. Today, the lycophytes are represented by the club mosses, 1100 species belonging to five genera, most in the genus Lycopodium and the genus Selaginella. These plants are small, unlike their fossil relatives, some of which were tree-like.

Lepidodendron is the best known of the lycopods from Mazon Creek, and reached estimated heights of 54 m (180 feet), with 2 m diameter trunks. Lepidodendron trees are an important component of Carboniferous age coal throughout the world. They make up over 90 percent of the coal in the Pennsylvanian age coal beds of North America. These coal beds include all the coal in Illinois.

Reconstruction of Sigillaria, a club moss relative, stem

 
Copyright 2003, Illinois State Museum Society