Lower Plants
deutsche Version

While the Higher Plants make up only one big branch of the profusely branched phylogenetic tree of life, the term "Lower Plants" is traditionally used as a receptacle for all the rest, with the exception of the animals and sometimes of the fungi. (It is recommended to look up phylogenetic trees in the recent literature although they may more or less differ among themselves and have to be repeatedly adjusted to latest discoveries.) The enigmatic nematophytes, which are known as fossils only and had not yet got a place on the phylogenetic tree, have recently been placed near to the Rhodophyta, based on fossil evidence.
The traditional sorting into apparently obvious clades is not at all adequate to the forms of life with several fundamentally different structures on the cellular level but it may be justified for purposes like the present one.
Palaeonitella in Rhynie ChertCroftalania (cyanobacteria) in Rhynie Chert

The number of Lower Plant species found in the Rhynie chert exceeds that of the Higher Plants found there, 

and it will increase further. The species described hitherto represent the following clades:
  Blue-Green Algae  = Cyanophytes  = Cyanobacteria
  Nematophytes
  Fungi
  Yellow-Green Algae  = Xanthophytes 
  Green Algae


Lower Plants seem to be scarce in cherts from other locations.

There are several good reasons for the assumption that the Higher Plants have evolved from some Green Alga.
       
alga "flower"
Arbitrarily selected Lower Plants from the Rhynie chert:
 - Higher Plant Horneophyton disguised as a monster with a fluffy fur consisting of the cyanophyte Croftalania ,
    width of the picture 10mm,
    
 - probably the first fossil xanthophyte as shown in Rhynie Chert News 69
 (no image here),
 -
Palaeonitella , one of the most advanced Green Algae, a charophyte apparently related to extant Nitella,
     seen here hollow in the chert,
                             
 - a recently discovered Green Alga with peculiar "flowers", possibly an unknown type of charophyte 
    as described in Rhynie Chert News 73, 899093, width of the picture 1mm.

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