The Lower Liassic Flora of Bayreuth
In the region of Bayreuth (Franken, Germany) the layers of the Lower Liassic are very well exposed. Till recently these sediments were called the Rhät-Liassic layers, in which the Rhät is the uppermost formation of the Triassic and the Liassic the lowermost formation of the Jurassic. However, it has been proved now that the Rhät does not occur in the neighbourhood of Bayreuth and that the sediments are of Lower Liassic age. The layers are also called Plant sandstone. The age of the strata is roughly 200 million years.
The spots on the map indicate a couple of sites, which have yielded
plant fossils in the course of time. There has been intensive collecting
in this area for many years, especially in the sand quarries. Most of the
sites, however, are not productive any more and besides the situation is
changing frequently. According to German law the quarries must be filled
up when they are finished. The dotted areas in the map indicate the Lower
Description of the flora
Marattiopsis intermedia (Marattiaceae)
Todites princeps (Osmundaceae)
Phialopteris tenera (Schizaeaceae)
Selenocarpus muensterianus (Matoniaceae)
Phlebopteris angustiloba (Matoniaceae)
Phlebopteris muensteri (Matoniaceae)
Thaumatopteris brauniana (Dipteridaceae)
Dictyophyllum nilsonii (Dipteridaceae)
Ginkgoites (Baiera) taeniata
The Lower Liassic flora of Bayreuth may not be one of the most gorgeous ones (with exceptions), yet it gives a clear image of the situation in a plant world 200 million years ago. Ferns, cycasses, Bennettitales, ginkgos, Gnetales and conifers dominate. And there are also more ancient plants like the horsetails and the seed ferns.
If you like to see the beautiful exceptions (the museum pieces), go and visit the uppermost floor of the Museum in Bayreuth. There is an exhibition of the collection of the deceased amateur specialist Sept Hauptmann and his still active wife Traute. Indeed an homage to these two successful supercollectors.
Thanks to Prof. Han van Konijnenburg-van Cittert of Naturalis (Leyden, Holland)), Jürgen Meyer from Zwickau (Germany), Erwin and Xander Kaspers, Bert van Zuylen, Jaap Luteyn and several members of the Working Group Fossils Wageningen.