The fossilised remains of a fern-like frond (Alethopteris) and seed (Trigonocarpus) found in the Coal Measures at Foxley, Tollcross. Both date from the Carboniferous Period (360-290 million years ago) when Scotland was part of a vast low-lying swampy plain which lay near the Equator and was covered in tropical rainforests.
This Alethopteris belongs to a group of plants called seed ferns, which are now extinct. Seed ferns differ from true ferns because they have seeds, whereas true ferns reproduce themselves through minute spores which are situated under the leaves. Alethopteris were one of the first plants to ever have seeds.
The Coal Measures were formed from the remains of the Carboniferous rainforests. As dead trees and plants decayed in the swamps, layers of peat gradually built up. A process of compression slowly changed the peat into coal.
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums
Alethopteris, Carboniferous Period, Coal Measures, fossils, geology, rainforests, seed ferns, seeds, swamps, Trigonocarpus