Click on the photos for more information
The conifers, including the araucaria's, formed an important part of the Jurassic flora of Yorkshire. The most common species by far is Elatides williamsonii, which occurs in many places. Mostly, however, only small twigs are found. A branch like the one on the photo on the left is rather rare. Cones are also common. The male ones are small and sometimes present in abundance (middle photo). The female ones are larger and less common (photo on the right).
This plant belongs to the family of the Taxodiaceae or swamp cypresses.

Elatides williamsonii

Male cone of Elatides Female cone of Elatides

Brachyphyllum mamillareAraucarites phillipsiiA second rather common species is Brachyphyllum mamillare (photo on the left), which is classified in the Araucaria group, though the leaflets differ very much from those of the living 'monkey puzzle tree'. The leaflets are very short and thick and overlap each other. Especially near Whitby we have found a lot of small twigs of this plant.
The female cones fell easily apart ànd therefore the female scales are mostly found detached (photo on the right). The cone as well as the separate scales are called Araucarites phillipsii.

Famous is the jet from North Yorkshire, a fine, compact, black material, which is used to make (mourning) ornaments, lockets, dolls furniture, etc. It is fossil wood of Aracauria trees and some other conifers and it is collected in perfect quality at Saltwick Nab near Whitby. Since the Bronze Age this material has been won and a complete industry has come in existence. The museum in Whitby shows beautiful examples and gives also much information on this industry. In several places along the beach you can find fossil trees (click on the photo below), but in most cases they are of inferior quality. Neither it is certain that these are potential jet trees: they can also be other conifers.

Fossil conifer trunk

A lot more conifers has been described, but these are all more or less rare and we are not aware to have found them. In most cases a cuticle preparation is needed to be sure about the species or even the genus.