Cover image for Plant fossils : the history of land vegetation
Plant fossils : the history of land vegetation
Cleal, Christopher J., 1951-
Publication Information:
New York : Boydell Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
viii, 188 pages, 128 pages of plates : illustrations ; 26 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QE905 .C55 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Plants have played a central role in the evolution of life on earth and the colonization of land, to the extent that, without them, man would not exist. Relating the history of land vegetation, this volume provides an account of how plants first invaded the land 400 or more million years ago, as tiny leafless stems which grew upright for only a few centimetres and were restricted to low-lying, waterlogged habitats, from which the whole of earth's flora has evolved.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Plants, and the natural habitats they created and sustained over time, played a major role in shaping life on Earth. Cleal (National Museums and Galleries of Wales, Cardiff) and Thomas (geography, Univ. of Wales, Lampeter) offer a concise survey of the paleobotanical evidence used to interpret the history of plants. The centerpiece is an exquisite collection of 128 black-and-white photographs of fossil plants, culled from museum and research collections around the world. Reference is made to them throughout. The natural history of plants is tidy in that a chronological discussion of major groups of evolving taxa does not conflict strongly with the view that modern floras are generally more complex and diverse than their precursors. As such, the story begins 425 million years ago in the Silurian, when early plants first colonized the land. They were small, simple, and restricted to near-shore habitats, living close to where their algal ancestors thrived. Each succeeding chapter focuses on more advanced evolutionary groups: club mosses, horsetails, fans, seed plants, and flowering plants. Plant Fossils is an important work, and on the strength of its plates alone should be used as a supplemental reference in any college-level course about the history of life. Undergraduates and up. J. H. Beck; Boston College