Horneophyton is a genus of early Devonian fossil land plants. Its fossils are very common in the Rhynie chert. Both the sporophyte and a female gametophyte have been found as fossils. The sporophyte was about 20 cm tall, and the gametophyte was about 6 cm tall. It is not really a vascular plant. It had vascular tissue but the cells had thin walls.

Temporal range: Early Devonian
Schematic reconstruction of Horneophyton lignieri to show its growth habit
Scientific classification e
Division: Horneophyta
Class: Horneophytopsida
Order: Horneophytales
Family: Horneophytaceae
Kenrick & Crane (1997)
Genus: Horneophyton
Bargh. & Darrah (1938)

H. lignieri (Kidst. & W.H.Lang) Bargh. & Darrah (1938)


Hornea Kidst. & W.H.Lang (1920) non Baker

Horneophyton had anatomy similar to the hornworts. It is also similar to the vascular plant Rhynia which lived at the same time. It might therefore be a missing link between the Bryophytes like hornworts and the vascular plants like Rhynia.


  • Eggert, D.A. (1974), "The sporangium of Horneophyton lignieri (Rhyniophytina)", American Journal of Botany, 61 (4): 405–413
  • The biota of early terrestrial ecosystems: the Rhynie Chert, University of Aberdeen, retrieved 6 July 2015
A piece of Rhynie chert has parts of many Horneophyton plants. The red circles show the bases of sporophytes.