Land Plants

Stenocereus thurberi (organ pipe cactus) (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) Lars Hammar/

Scientific Name: Embryophyta

Status: Extant (alive today)

Oldest fossil anywhere: Ordovician of Arabian Peninsula (about 475 million years old)

Oklahoma fossil record: In rocks deposited during the Devonian through Cretaceous Periods, and the Miocene and Pleistocene Epochs.

Land plants possess all four of these characteristics:

1. Archegonium - a vase-shaped structure that surrounds and protects the egg and, later, the developing embryo.

2. Cuticle - a waxy coating that covers the surface of the plant to stop or slow loss of water.

3. Pores/Stomata - openings in the cuticle that allow air in and out.

4. Sporopollenin - a chemical in the walls of reproductive cells—spores and pollen—that makes them resistant to drying out and breaking apart.