A late Wenlock flora from Co. Tipperary, Ireland



An assemblage of macroplants preserved as highly coalified compressions which lack anatomy is described from a Wenlock locality in County Tipperary, Ireland. Most of the fertile specimens are assigned to Cooksonia Lang. The taxonomic status of this genus is discussed. Some poorly preserved palynomorphs, including miospores, acritarchs, chitinozoans and a variety of tubes, have been isolated from associated sediments, but the age of the flora is based on graptolites. Sedimentological and palaeontological studies of the region are summarized. They provide little direct evidence for the habitats of the plants which are considered to have been terrestrial. The relevance of this flora to the current debate on the colonization of the land is evaluated and it is concluded that these plants provide the earliest record of erect fertile land plants of possible pteridophyte affinity.