The earth was a very different place 300 million years ago. Imagine a broad river, muddy and shallow, slowly winding through a lush green flatland riparian environment. A riverbank lined with ferns, some as big as today's trees. Flowering plants were still just in the design phase, this was a land of monocots. These ancient plants would fall over into the river during floods and would later be deposited along the riverbank downstream, covered in mud and silt, layer after layer, accumulating with each flood season. Like the rings of a tree, these layers tell the forensic story of the seasons and years in this ever changing environment 300 million years in the past.
One of the rarest species to look for from this location is Equisetum. Today, the genus Equisetum is all that's left of the Equisetaceae family. Also found here are Alethopteris, Neuropteris, Pecopteris, and Sphenophyllum.
These Carboniferous ferns are preserved in the mineral pyrophyllite, which gives them a bold white or silver color. The pyrophyllite is a pyrite pseudomorph. Some specimens have a slight orange or bold orange tinge due to inclusions of iron.
Length â 12.7 cm
Width â 5.5 cm
Height â 0.7 cm