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 have not yet got a safe place on the phylogenetic tree, have
been placed near the Rhodophyta or among the ascomycetes.
The traditional sorting into "lower" and "higher" clades is not at all
adequate to the fundamentally
different forms of life
but it may be justified here.
The number of Lower Plant species
found in the Rhynie chert exceeds that of the Higher Plants found
there, and it
will increase further.
species described here represent the following clades:
= Cyanophytes =
Yellow-Green Algae =
Lower Plants seem to be scarce in cherts from other
There are several good reasons for the assumption that the Higher
Plants have evolved from some Green Alga.
Some examples of Lower Plants from the Rhynie chert have been selected here:
- Higher Plant Horneophyton
disguised as a monster with a fluffy fur consisting of the cyanophyte
, width of the picture 10mm,
- probably the first fossil xanthophyte as shown in Rhynie
Chert News 69
(no image here),
- charophyte Green Alga, seen
here hollow in the chert: Rhynie
Chert News 10 ,
- big "knot" of unknown nematophyte species, unknown purpose,
(picture width 1.3mm, Rhynie
Chert News 156).
last modified: 2021,