Neuropteris is an extinct seed fern that was widespread during the Carboniferous.
Neuropteris fossils are also found worldwide. It is commonly
found where coal formed. A member of Cycadophyta Order Medullosales,
they are believed most closely related to modern day cycads.
most of the Pennsylvanian (325 to 286 million years ago), a large
portion of North America supported
lush, swampy forests. Lycopods made up the largest component of
these forests and achieved gigantic size, growing to heights of
more than 130 feet with supporting trunks measuring up to 6 feet
or more in diameter. These plants are also called "scale trees" because
of the distinctive diamond-shaped leaf scars that cover their outer
bark midsection. Neuropteris, Sphenopteris, and Lyginopteris were
three of the many of genus of pteridosperms or seed ferns. The
seed ferns had undergone a large radiation, and many, many species
existed, most of which have not been scientifically described in
the fossil record. Now extinct, these diverse plants had foliage
closely resembling that of modern ferns, but they reproduced by
means of seeds rather than spores as modern ferns do today. The
period from the Mississippian through the Pennsylvanian is often
called the Age of Ferns.
fossil comes from a very old collection, some 50 to 60 years
old, the plant fossil collection of a man and wife who combed
than 100 plant fossil sites, almost all west of the Mississippi
No doubt, some of these sites have been subsumed by strip malls,
and urban sprawl, or are otherwise no longer open to collecting.
There was no Internet for these amateur collectors to research
their treasures, so many remain
unidentified. As is apparent, this one was mounted the old fashion
way, and very neatly lettered; I've left it as is.
see a Cordaites gymnosperm fossil from the same Porter, Oklahoma site.