Triassic Neocalamites Plant Fossil

Name: Neocalamites sp.

Geologic Time: Triassic

Size: 110 mm wide by 190 mm long matrix

Fossil Site: Stanhope Coal Mine, Mount Christie, Avoca, Tasmania, Australia

NeocalamitesDescription: This fossil specimen is a member of the genus Neocalamites, a member of the Calamitales that belong to the Sphenophytes. Whorls of small leaflets are arranged concentrically around a thin stem and are called Annularia or Asterophyllites. Calamites itself is the name originally given to a stem section, but now applies to the entire plant. These were indicative of humid to wet habitats such as along rivers and lake shores. This one is quite intact, and has been described as the best specimen of the type to come from Tasmania. There are at least two other partials to be found at different depths in the matrix, but the one exposed is most spectacular. The only living example of the sphenophytes is the horsetail Equisetum. This is a most unusual specimen, from a mine long closed down.

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