Brief descriptions and comments on relationships are given for the seven embryophytic sporophytes in the cherts at Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. They are Rhynia gwynnevaughanii Kidston & Lang, Aglaophyton major D. S. Edwards, Horneophyton lignieri Barghoorn & Darrah, Asteroxylon mackiei Kidston & Lang, Nothia aphylla Lyon ex Høeg, Trichopherophyton teuchansii Lyon & Edwards and Ventarura lyonii Powell, Edwards & Trewin. The superb preservation of the silica permineralisations produced in the hot spring environment provides remarkable insights into the anatomy of early land plants which are not available from compression fossils and other modes of permineralisation. They include soft tissues, such as those surrounding stomata, rhizoids, apical and lateral meristems, and diversity in conducting cells, with inferences for palaeoecophysiology, including water use efficiency, transport and absorption, and for growth processes and patterns.
(Received December 14 2003)
(Accepted June 10 2004)
Key Words: Exceptional preservation; Lycopsida; meristems; palaeoecophysiology; Rhyniopsida; silicification; substomatal chamber; water absorption; xylem; Zosterophyllopsida