Open main menu

Dicroidium is an extinct genus of fork-leaved seed ferns that were distributed over Gondwana during the Triassic (252 to 201 million years ago). Their fossils are known from South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, South America and Antarctica. They were first discovered in Triassic sediments of Tasmania by Morris in 1845.[4] Fossils from the Umm Irna Formation in Jordan indicate that these plants already existed in Late Permian.[5]

Temporal range: Late Permian to Triassic
Dicroidium odontopteroides.jpg
Dicroidium odontopteroides fossil leaf, Late Triassic Molteno Formation near Birds River South Africa.
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pteridospermatophyta
Order: Peltaspermales
Family: Corystospermaceae
Genus: Dicroidium
Gothan (1912)
  • Dicroidium crassinervis Australia, Antarctica, South Africa
  • Dicroidium coriaceum, Australia, Antarctica, South Africa
  • Dicroidium dubium Australia, Antarctica, South Africa
  • Dicroidium odontopteroides, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, India, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil[1]
  • Dicroidium stelznerianum, Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, South Africa, Argentina[2]


The leaves are similar to those of modern ferns but like all seed ferns (Pteridospermatophyta) were thick and had substantial cuticles. Dicroidium differs from other seed fern leaves in having a forked rachis; giving the appearance of two fern leaves joined at the base. These plants had male and female reproductive structures. Following the form generic nomenclature of paleobotany, male pollen-bearing structures are separately named Pteruchus and the female structures Umkomasia.[6]

Whole plant reconstructionsEdit

Different organs attributed to the same original plant can be reconstructed from co-occurrence at the same locality and from similarities in the stomatal apparatus and other anatomical peculiarities of fossilized cuticles.


  2. ^ Retallack G.J. (1985). "Triassic fossil plant fragments from marine rocks of the Murihiku Supergroup, New Zealand". Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. 15: 1–26. doi:10.1080/03036758.1985.10421741.
  3. ^ Passo das Tropas, Santa Maria, RS Marco bioestratigráfico triássico na evolução paleoflorística do Gondwana na Bacia do Paraná.
  4. ^ Strzelecki, P.E. (1845). Physical descriptions of New South Wales and van Diemens Land. Brown, Green and Longmans, London. pp. 422 pp.
  5. ^ Patrick Blomenkemper; Hans Kerp; Abdalla Abu Hamad; William A. DiMichele; Benjamin Bomfleur (2018). "A hidden cradle of plant evolution in Permian tropical lowlands". Science. 362 (6421): 1414–1416. doi:10.1126/science.aau4061.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Retallack, G.J.; Dilcher, D.L. (1988). "Reconstructions of selected seed ferns". Missouri Botanical Garden Annals. 75: 1010–1057. doi:10.2307/2399379.
  8. ^ Retallack G.J. (1977). "Reconstructing Triassic vegetation of southeastern Australia: a new approach to the biostratigraphy of Gondwanaland". Alcheringa. 1: 247–265. doi:10.1080/03115517708527763.
  • Bomfleur, B. and Kerp, H. (2010). Dicroidium diversity in the Upper Triassic of north Victoria Land, East Antarctica.