Edwards's work has centered on early plant fossils, the majority of which have been retrieved from the UK. Her interest in early plants was initiated after she studied plant fossils preserved in three dimensions in the mineral pyrite (fools' gold); much of her later work has centred on the Rhynie chert and charcoalified fossils, large and microscopic, from the Welsh borderlands and south Wales - a short drive from the University of Cardiff, at which she is a research professor in the School of Earth, Ocean and Planetary Sciences. She also has links with China, consulting for the Beijing Museum of Natural History, and working on fossils from that country.
Among Edwards's most notable works are the discovery of vascular tissue in Cooksonia, the description and analysis of stomata in early land plants, and very early liverwort-like plants. The charcoalified nature of many of her fossils have enabled her to prove that wildfires took place in the Siluruan period. She has also worked on several enigmatic fossils such as Nematothallus, Tortilicaulis and Prototaxites. She is the author or co-author of a considerable number of botanical names of fossil plants, such as Danziella D.Edwards (2006) and Demersatheca C.-S. Li & D.Edwards (1996).
Edwards was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1996, and is a trustee of the Natural History Museum, London. She was the 2004 winner of the Lyell Medal. She is also a Founding Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and in July 2010 was appointed as its inaugural Vice-President for Science, Technology and Medicine. She is PhD honoris causa at the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala University, Sweden, since 2014.
- Index of Botanists, Harvard University Herbarium, retrieved 2011-04-07, entry for D. Edwards
- Professor Dianne Edwards FRS - The first plants
- Professor Dianne Edwards
- Edwards, D.; Davies, K. L.; Axe, L. (1992). "A vascular conducting strand in the early land plant Cooksonia". Nature 357 (6380): 683–685. Bibcode:1992Natur.357..683E. doi:10.1038/357683a0.
- Edwards, D.; Kerp, H.; Hass, H. (1998). "Stomata in early land plants: an anatomical and ecophysiological approach". Journal of Experimental Botany 49 (Special Issue): 255–278. doi:10.1093/jexbot/49.suppl_1.255.
- Edwards, D.; Duckett, J. G.; Richardson, J. B. (1995). "Hepatic characters in the earliest land plants". Nature 374 (6523): 635–636. Bibcode:1995Natur.374..635E. doi:10.1038/374635a0.
- Glasspool, I. J.; Edwards, D.; Axe, L. (2004). "Charcoal in the Silurian as evidence for the earliest wildfire". Geology 32 (5): 381–383. Bibcode:2004Geo....32..381G. doi:10.1130/G20363.1.
- Edwards, D.; Rose, V. (1984). "Cuticles of Nematothallus: a further enigma". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 88 (1-2): 35–54. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1984.tb01563.x.
- Edwards, D. (1979). "A late Silurian flora from the Lower Old Red Sandstone of south-west Dyfed". Palaeontology 22: 23–52.
- Burgess, N. D.; Edwards, D. (1988). "A new Palaeozoic plant closely allied to Prototaxites Dawson". Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 97 (2): 189–203. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1988.tb02461.x.
- Edwards, Dianne (2006), "Danziella artesiana, a new name for Zosterophyllum artesianum from the Lower Devonian of Artois, northern France", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 142 (3-4): 93–101, doi:10.1016/j.revpalbo.2006.04.008
- Li, C.-S. & Edwards, D. (1996), "Demersatheca Li et Edwards, gen. nov., a new genus of early land plants from the Lower Devonian, Yunnan Province, China", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 93 (1-4): 77–88, doi:10.1016/0034-6667(95)00120-4
- "Author Query for 'D.Edwards'". International Plant Names Index.