reconstruction of arborescent lycopsid Valmeyerodendron, an Early Carboniferous aborescent lycopsid © fossil of lepidodendropsis Fossil leaf traces of c.f. Lepidodendropsis. Photo courtesy of Walt Cressler.

c.f. Lepidodendropsis
(arborescent lycopsid)

A variety of lycopsid stem and rooting fragments have been found at the floodplain pond facies at Red Hill. Some of these fossils either belonged to a cormose lycopsid (Otzinachsonia beerboweri), vaguely resembled Cyclostigma (an important lycopsid of the latest Devonian and Lower Carboniferous) or were simply unidentifiable. Two specimens, however, exhibited distinctive leaf traces that compares favorably (c.f.) with those of Lepidodendropsis. It's not clear whether c.f. Lepidodendropsis lived next to the floodplain pond or was washed into it during a flood.

Lepidodendropsis is a form genus for a distinctive lycopsid stem present in some Late Devonian (Famennian) localities and common to abundant in many Lower Carboniferous (Tournaisian and Viséan) deposits. For example, Stephen Schlecker reported that it dominated coastal and floodplains Tournaisian swamps in Virginia. Lepidodendropsis fragments have been associated with Protostigmaria eggertiana, a cormose rooting organ with multiple lobes that was discovered by James Jennings. The presence of numerous small axes of Lepidodendropsis in association with Protostigmaria suggest that the tree was highly branched.

Arborescent lycopsids such as Lepidodendropsis were important and often dominant components of middle and late Paleozoic ecosystems. You can learn more about lycopsids.

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Books:
Stewart, W.N and G.W. Rothwell. 1993. Paleobotany and the Evolution of Plants. Cambrige: Cambrige Univ. Press.
Scientific Papers:
Beerbower, J.R., J.A. Boy, W.A. DiMichele, R.A. Gastaldo, R. Hook, N. Hotton, III, T.L. Phillips, S.E. Scheckler, and W.A. Shear. 1992. "Paleozoic terrestrial ecosystems." pp. 205-235. In: A.K.Behrensmeyer, J.D. Damuth, W.A. DiMichele, R.Potts, H.-D. Sues and S.L. Wing (eds.) Terrestrial Ecosystems throught Time. Univ. Chicago: Chicago Press.
Cressler, W.L., 1999. "Site–analysis and floristics of the Late Devonian Red Hill locality, Pennsylvania, an Archaeopteris-dominated plant community and early tetrapod site." Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. Pennyslvania, Philadelphia, 156 p.
Jennings, J.R., 1975. Protostigmaria, a new plant organ from the Lower Mississippian of Virginia. Palaeontology 18: 19-24.
Jennings, J.R., E.E. Karrfalt, and G.W. Rothwell. 1983. Structure and affinities of Protostigmaria eggertiana. Amer. J. Botany 70: 963-974.
Scheckler, S.E. 1986. Floras of the Devonian-Mississippian transition. In: T.W. Broadhead (ed.) Land Plants: Notes for a short course. Paleontological Society.
Image Credits:
The reconstruction of Valmeyerodendron is copyrighted © 2002, Dennis C. Murphy. (See Terms of Use.) It's based on Jennings (1972).

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