Temporal range: Devonian
Trimerophytopsida (or Trimeropsida) is a class of early vascular plants from the Devonian, informally called trimerophytes. It contains genera such as Psilophyton. This group is probably paraphyletic, and is believed to be the ancestral group from which both the ferns and seed plants evolved. Different authors have treated the group at different taxonomic ranks using the names Trimerophyta, Trimerophytophyta, Trimerophytina, Trimerophytophytina and Trimerophytales.
At first most of the early land plants other than the bryophytes (i.e. the polysporangiophytes) were placed in a single class Psilophyta, established in 1917 by Kidston and Lang. As additional fossils were discovered and described, it became apparent that the Psilophyta were not a homogeneous group of plants. In 1968 Banks first proposed splitting this taxon into three groups, which he put at the rank of subdivision; he clarified his proposal in 1975. One of the three groups was the Trimerophytina. The subdivision is based on the type genus Trimerophyton, which might be expected to produce 'Trimerophytophytina' as the name of the subdivision, but the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Vienna Code) allows the 'phyton' part of a genus name optionally to be omitted before '-ophyta', '-ophytina' and '-opsida'.
The group has also since been treated as a division under the name Trimerophyta or Trimerophytophyta, as a class under the name Trimeropsida or Trimerophytopsida (as here), and as an order under the name Trimerophytales.
- Crane, P.R.; Herendeen, P. & Friis, E.M. (2004), "Fossils and plant phylogeny", American Journal of Botany 91 (10): 1683–99, doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1683, PMID 21652317
- Banks, H.P. (1968), "The early history of land plants", in Drake, E.T., Evolution and Environment: A Symposium Presented on the Occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Foundation of Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University, New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, pp. 73–107, cited in Banks, H.P. (1980), "The role of Psilophyton in the evolution of vascular plants", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 29: 165–176, doi:10.1016/0034-6667(80)90056-1
- Banks, H.P. (1975), "Reclassification of Psilophyta", Taxon 24: 401–413, doi:10.2307/1219491
- McNeill, J.; Barrie, F.R.; Burdet, H.M. et al., eds. (2006), International code of botanical nomenclature (Vienna Code) adopted by the seventeenth International Botanical Congress, Vienna, Austria, July 2005 (electronic ed.), Vienna: International Association for Plant Taxonomy, retrieved 2011-02-20 , Article 16.4
- Taylor, T.N.; Taylor, E.L. & Krings, M. (2009), Paleobotany, The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants (2nd ed.), Amsterdam; Boston: Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-373972-8, p. 227
- See, e.g., Berry, C.M. & Fairon-Demaret, M. (2001), "The Middle Devonian Flora Revisited", in Gensel & Edwards 2001, pp. 120–139
- Banks, H.P. (1970), Evolution and Plants of the Past, London: Macmillan Press, ISBN 978-0-333-14634-7, p. 57
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