Permian Plants

Hidden within the red rocks of the North Texas Permian, scientists find clues about the conditions of the Permian climate that prevailed at the time the rocks were deposited.  Clues are found not only in organisms, but also in the fossil soils that developed at that time, and in turn, the plants that grew in those soils. Near Seymour, scientists see the first appearance of “Red Bed” floras. During Early Permian, the seashore was to the south and west of Seymour. Following the end of the Carboniferous, the world began to see a great transition – the dominance of terrestrial ecosystems for the first time. The climates began to change as well, becoming hotter and dryer. Plants that preferred dry conditions, such as the Permian fern Rhachiphylum, became abundant. Plant fossils that grew on the coastal plain include Auritofolia, Walchia, and numerous conifers of the Comioid type. In the geology near Seymour, Texas, we see the transition from marine to terrestrial as the rocks change from older dense grey limestones to younger red silts and clays deposited on flood plains of rivers that carried water from the mountains north and east of northcentral Texas. The animals and particularly the plants that lived here provide information about the prevailing regional and local habitats.

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Taeniopteris

Taeniopteris leaves have incredibly fine venations that give the specimen the appearance of a bird feather. Of course, birds and feathers won’t evolve for another 120 to 150 million years. I can’t imagine what these leaves must have felt like, or smelled like, or even tasted like, 280 million years ago.

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Comia

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Otovicia hypnoides

Otovicia, also known as Walchia is an extinct conifer that belongs to the class Pinopsida.

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Calamites

Calamites, was a spore-bearing plant that lived during the Carboniferous and Permian periods (about 360 to 250 million years ago). Calamites had an internode design like current horsetails, and their branches and leaves emerged in whorls from these nodes. Calamites grew to 20 meters (about 66 feet) tall, standing mostly along the sandy banks of rivers.

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Rhachiphyllum

Calamites, was a spore-bearing plant that lived during the Carboniferous and Permian periods (about 360 to 250 million years ago). Calamites had an internode design like current horsetails, and their branches and leaves emerged in whorls from these nodes. Calamites grew to 20 meters (about 66 feet) tall, standing mostly along the sandy banks of rivers.