N is for….

Neuropteris was a genus of extinct plants that had a unusual combination of characters. Hailing from the coal swamps of the Carboniferous it had the leaves and trunk of a tree fern but reproduced by means of seed! From a group of plants known as Seed ferns or pteridosperms they were actually more closely related to conifers and flowering plants than ferns. Weirdly, although the seed were often born on special branches they were also to be found along the midrib of the fronds. They also produced very large pollen grains which leads paleobotanists to believe they were pollinated by insects. Their nearest relatives were probably Cycads although nothing truly like them exists today.