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Temporal range: Early Devonian
Schematic reconstruction of Horneophyton lignieri to show its growth habit
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Division: Horneophyta
Class: Horneophytopsida
Order: Horneophytales
Family: Horneophytaceae
Kenrick & Crane (1997)
Genus: Horneophyton
Bargh. & Darrah (1938)

H. lignieri (Kidst. & W.H.Lang) Bargh. & Darrah (1938)


Hornea Kidst. & W.H.Lang (1920) non Baker

Horneophyton is a genus of early Devonian fossil land plants. Its fossils are very common in the Rhynie chert. Both the sporophyte and a female gametophyte have been found as fossils. The sporophyte was about 20 cm tall, and the gametophyte was about 6 cm tall. It is not really a vascular plant. It had vascular tissue but the cells had thin walls.

Horneophyton had anatomy similar to the hornworts. It is also similar to the vascular plant Rhynia which lived at the same time. It might therefore be a missing link between the Bryophytes like hornworts and the vascular plants like Rhynia.

References[change | change source]

  • Eggert, D.A. (1974), "The sporangium of Horneophyton lignieri (Rhyniophytina)", American Journal of Botany, 61 (4): 405–413, doi:10.1002/j.1537-2197.1974.tb12259.x, JSTOR 2441808
  • The biota of early terrestrial ecosystems: the Rhynie Chert, University of Aberdeen, retrieved 6 July 2015
A piece of Rhynie chert has parts of many Horneophyton plants. The red circles show the bases of sporophytes.