Fossil Plants

Fossil Plants cover

Paul Kenrick and Paul Davis

Discover the fascinating story of plants, one of the most spectacularly diverse groups of organisms on Earth.

978 0 565 09176 7
November 2004
234 x 154 mm
192 pp
Colour and black-and-white illustrations
Natural History Museum


This book is an accessible introduction to fossil plants and how they can be used to unravel the history of life. Weaving together strands from the past and present, snapshots of ancient and modern environments are illustrated with images of fossils and their 'living relatives'. Explore the hidden past of plants and uncover the breadth of form and rare beauty of plants turned to stone.

This title is now out of print.

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Pages from Fossil Plants

The contents page from Fossil Plants.

Pages from Fossil Plants

Discover how living organisms often leave a physical imprint on the environment.

Pages from Fossil Plants

Find out about the earliest seeds to be found on Earth.

Pages from Fossil Plants

Leaf and fruit fossils.

Pages from Fossil Plants

Chapter five: measuring the past.

Pages from Fossil Plants

In the beginning: details of the search for life in the earliest rocks.

Pages from Fossil Plants

Plant life through the ages.


Paul Kenrick is a palaeobotanist in the Palaeontology Department of the Natural History Museum. Paul Davis is the Registrar of the Natural History Museum.


Find out what others think of this book.

"This is the first book to focus on plant fossils and traces the origins of today's plants, comparing ancient forms with their modern counterparts. Written by Paul Davis and Paul Kenrick, and published by the Natural History Museum, the book is illustrated with photographs of comtemporary and ancient plant specimens"

BBC Wildlife Magazine

"Although their story might not have the same visceral appeal as the dinosaurs', the question of how plants came to turn the Earth green really is as interesting and important. Fossil Plants tracks and illustrates their evolution from the depths of Precambrian time through the coal forests to the colouring of the land by flowering plants. For the interested amateur or student this is an ideal introduction to their history and origins of the green stuff that ultimately keeps us all going. "

Douglas Palmer - New Scientist

"Those interested in the origin of plants will be interested in a new book from Natural History Museum Publishing. Fossil Plants by Paul Kenrick and Paul Davis looks at plants from the first green algae to the miniature Devonian forest of the Early Devonian period and the lush jungles of the Jurassic period and beyond..."

Horticulture Week

"…this is an easily read book that is well presented and includes information that will appeal to non-specialists and specialists alike…The book clearly succeeds in communicating difficult subjects, and makes the important transition from merely being an introduction to providing the essential background on the subject. The widespread use of similes assists explanations and succeeds in creating memory aids that are hard to dislodge. Although lots of terminology is used in the book, this is not done in a frightening way, and the text is accessible to all. Our conclusion is that this book gets the thumbs up for interested amateurs and undergraduates interested in palaeontology, botany and terrestrial ecology… Before this book there was an obvious gap in the market for an accurate short introductory book that can be recommended to others of various levels who are interested in the field. This book fills that niche, and does it well."

Newsletter of The Palaeontology Association