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Leaves, wood and flowers

Where in NZ Widespread in sedimentary rocks
When Most of our plant fossils are Mesozoic or Cenozoic (250 million years ago to present). Some of our earliest fossil leaves, however, are of Permian age at the end of the Paleozoic era (300 million years ago).
Scale Variable

What are they?

  • Leaf remains of plants are commonly in the form of impressions or carbonised leaf material or the remains can be mineralized.
  • A fossil fern, Cladophlebis, Curio Bay

    A fossil fern, Cladophlebis, Curio Bay

    Fossil wood – often carbonised, sometimes silicified and beautifully preserved
  • Flowers are rarely found, seeds are more common

Used for?

  • Assemblages of plant species, the morphology (shape) of leaves, and wood structure (tree rings) are useful indicators of past climates, and how climate has changed through time.
  • Reconstruction of past vegetation

See some examples in our image gallery.