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Carboniferous forest including seed ferns.

Seed ferns (Pteridospermatophyta) is a term that refers to several distinct groups of extinct seed-bearing plants (spermatophytes). Seed ferns looked like ferns but they had an advanced, seed-type reproductive system.

The oldest fossil evidence of plants of this type is of late Devonian age, and they flourished particularly during the Carboniferous and Permian periods. Only a small number of seed ferns survived to the Mesozoic Era (the time of dinosaurs).

The seed ferns mostly disappeared by the end of the Cretaceous Period, though some fossil plants resembling them seem to have survived into Eocene times in Tasmania.

The following Orders of seed plants are often referred to as pteridosperms:

  • Arberiales (= "Glossopteridales")
  • Calamopityales
  • Callistophytales
  • Corystospermales
  • Gigantopteridales
  • Leptostrobales
  • Lyginopteridales
  • Medullosales
  • Peltaspermales