Rhynie Chert Plants

There can be little doubt that the Rhynie chert organisms have had a profound influence on many of our hypotheses

figure 8.10 Section of Rhyme chert showing closely spaced upright axes and matrix (Devonian). Bar = 600 pm.
figure 8.11 Harlan P. Banks. (Courtesy H. N. Andrews.)

about the early evolution of land plants. In recent years, however, some of these ideas have been challenged in light of new discoveries from the chert beds and the reexamination and reinterpretation of some of the plants. In their pioneering series of papers (1917-1921), Kidston and Lang described four plant taxa: Rhynia major, R. gwynne-vaughanii, Hornea

Hornea Plants
figure 8.12 Suggested reconstruction of Cooksonia caledonica. (From Taylor and Taylor, 1993.)

lignieri, and Asteroxylon mackiei. Since the original description, additional land plants have been described from the chert lenses, including Nothia aphylla (Lyon, 1964; El-Saadawy and Lacey, 1979) and Trichopherophyton teuchansii (Lyon and Edwards, 1991), and from coeval deposits at the nearby Windyfield chert site, that is, Ventarura lyonii (Powell et al., 2000).

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