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> Lepidodendron Tree

Lepidodendron Tree

(image is roll02 Lepidodendron) Lepidodendron trees are an extinct group of Lycopsids.

Although modern lycopsids are all small, inconspicuous herbaceous plants (club moss, for example), the Lepidodendron tree was a large arborescent (tree-like) plant. Some grew to an estimated height of 54 meters (180 feet).

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 Lepidodendron
Very few fossil plant specimens exist with all the parts of the plant. Lepidodendron at Mazon Creek is usually preserved as parts of the plant within a single nodule. Paleobotanists don't always know at first which stems, leaves, seeds, cones, bark and roots belong to the same plant, so they give separate species names to the plant parts. These parts belong to the Lepidodendron tree:

    Lepidodendron, the stem (link each to roll01 by name)
    Lepidophyllum, the leaves
    Lepidostrobus, the cone
    Lepidostrobophyllum, the cone scale
    Lepidocarpon, the megaspore
    Knorria, a layer of sub-bark

Copyright 2003, Illinois State Museum Society