fossil order of coniferous plants

Cordaitales are an extinct order of woody plants that may have been early conifers. Alternatively, they may have given rise to the conifers (Pinophyta), ginkgos (Ginkgophyta) and cycads (Cycadophyta).

Cordaites lungatus JdP.jpg
Cordaites lungatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Division: Pinophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order: Cordaitales


They had cone-like reproductive structures rather like those of modern conifers. The Cordaitales appeared during the Carboniferous period. They made big trees trees that were common on drier ground in tropical environments.

Also, some tall trees and some shrubby mangrove-like species of Cordaitales seem to have grown in the Carboniferous coal swamps. Cordaitales were also abundant during the Permian, but became less important during the Triassic. They died out during the time of the end-Triassic mass extinction.

Many Cordiatales had elongated strap-like leaves, resembling some modern-day conifers of the Araucariaceae and Podocarpaceae.