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")