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vert bar IN THE NEWS 5th May 2006

‘Jurassic Bark ! - the Evolution of the Plant Kingdom’

An exhibition of fossil plants and their living relatives will be on show in the Gallery of the Education & Visitor Centre from the 5th May to 16th June. The exhibit features live plants from the collections of the National Botanic Gardens, together with fossil plant specimens representing the ancestors of the present-day Plant Kingdom. The fossils come from the unique collection at Trinity College Geology Museum - the curator of which, Dr. Patrick Wyse Jackson, has masterminded the exhibition.

Cooksonia fossils from Moneygall, Co. Tipperary are Ireland's oldest land plants, they grew 425 million years ago (left).

The exhibiton will show how plant ancestors evolved to leave their watery habitats and colonise the land. Primitive plants such as Ferns and Mosses are still dependent on water for reproduction.

The evolution of the seed was a major advance which made it possible for land plants to spread to new habitats, and cycads, ginkgos and redwoods - one-time food of Dinosaurs - are still found living today. The gardens has a large collection of these 'living fossils' which you can read about on some of the posters below: