Cooksonia, one of the world’s first land plants

Cooksonia plant illustration

When we talk about the origin of plants, a name always comes up: Cooksonia. It is a plant that appeared in the middle of the Silurian period, that is, between 428 and 423 million years ago.

From it many of the plants that we know today could be developed, from large trees to flowers. But, How was it?

Characteristics of the Cooksonia

Our protagonist was a plant that lived in practically all regions of the world: Ireland, Wales, England, Bolivia, the United States, Great Britain, Australia. He was no more than 10 centimeters tallbut it is very interesting to know it since it was one of the first terrestrial plants that inhabited the Earth.

It did not have leaves, but its stems, which were Y-shaped, were capable of producing chlorophyll and, therefore, of photosynthesis and growth. It also did not have roots as we know them today, but was anchored to the earth by means of a horizontal rhizome. Its way of multiplying was through the spores that were formed at the ends of each stem, the sporangia, although it is not yet clear how.


So far, seven different species have been discovered:

  • C. pertoniin the 1937
  • C. hemisphaericain the 1937
  • C. cambrensisin the 1979
  • C. paranensisin the 2001
  • bohemian c.In 1980
  • C. banksiiin the 2002

Although it is not considered a guide fossil, it is was an evolutionary degree of a primary genus. In fact, four different forms of spores belonging to different species have been found in sporangia of one of the Cooksonia species.

These plants were described by the British William Henry Lang in 1937, who named them in honor of Isabel Cookson, a woman who collected specimens of one of the species three years ago at Perton Quarry.

What did you think of this extinct plant?

Cooksonia, one of the world’s first land plants

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top