The most important positive evidence on this point indicates that the most ancient Gymnosperms were derived from the Filicales rather than from any other phylum of the Vascular Cryptogams. Extinct forms are known intermediate between the Ferns and the Cycads, and a number of these have been shown to bear seeds and must be classed as Pteridospermae.
The seeds of the cryptogams or flowerless plants are not true seeds and are properly designated "spores."
The plant world falls into two great divisions, the higher or flowering plants (Phanerogams), characterized by the formation of a seed, and the lower or flowerless plants (Cryptogams), in which no seed is formed but the plants are disseminated by means of unicellular bodies termed spores.
In many Cryptogams than in the flowering plants.
These two great divisions are moreover of unequal value, for the Cryptogams comprise several groups differing from each other by characters as marked as those which separate some of them from the Phanerogams. The following groups or sub-kingdoms are those which are now generally recognized:
Cryptogams -~ II.
In the vascular cryptogams and phanerogams it takes place in the spore mother cells and the reduced number is found in all the cells of the gametophyte, the full number in those of the sporophyte.
In the Characeae, the Vascular Cryptogams, in Zamia and Cycas, and in Ginkgo, the spermatozoids are more or less highly modified cells witi+m.-S, ~..
At the an ~ ~ tenor end are attached - two cilia or flagella In, , C the Vascular Cryptogams -- ~ the structure is much the;il ~.: -; same, but a more or less ~ ~ ~ spherical mass of cyto 4 i~- - ~ plasm remains attached .8 ~ :~ to the posterior spirals, -.
In the spermatozoids of Chara, Vascular Cryptogams, and in those of Cycas, Zamia and Ginkgo, the cilia arise from a centrosome-like body which is found on one side of the nucleus of the spermatozoid mother-cell.
It was characterized by arborescent vascular Cryptogams and Gymnosperms of a type (Cordaiteae) which have left no descendants beyond it.
Both were in turn replaced by the Lower Mesozoic flora, which again is thought to have had its birth in the hypothetical Gondwana land, and in which Gymnosperms played the leading part formerly taken by vascular Cryptogams. The abundance of Cycadean plants is one of its most striking features.
The lower Cryptogams were contrasted as Amphigenae ("growing all over"), a misnomer, as apical growth is common among them.
24 a Cryptogams, besides Gramineae and Cyperaceae.
The more common plants in the most characteristic part of this region in southern Arabia are Capparidaceae, Euphorbiaceae, and a few Leguminosae, a Reseda and Dipterygium; palms, Polygonaceae, ferns, and other cryptogams, are rare.
The female organs of certain cryptogams, for instance, exert a positive chemiotactic action upon the spermatozoids, and probably, as Pfeffer suggests, the chemical agent which exerts the influence is malic acid.
The least satisfactory part of all these systems was that concerned with the lower plants or Cryptogams as contrasted with the higher or flowering plants (Phanerogams).
The term is synonymous with Cryptogams, by which it was replaced in later systems of classification.
Fungus, a mushroom), the botanical name covering in the broad sense all the lower cellular Cryptogams devoid of chlorophyll, which arise from spores, and the thallus of which is either unicellular or composed of branched or unbranched tubes or cell-filaments (hyphae) with apical growth, or of more or less complex wefted sheets or tissue-like masses of such (mycelium).
In structure a cycadean sporangium recalls those of certain ferns (Marattiaceae, Osmundaceae and Schizaeaceae), but in the development of the spores there are certain peculiarities not met with among the Vascular Cryptogams. With the exception of Cycas, the female flowers are also in the form of cones, bearing numerous carpellary scales.
The spores of the homosporous Vascular Cryptogams are usually of small size; the prothalli produced from them usually bear both antheridia and archegonia, though under special conditions an imperfect sexual differentiation may result.
The systematic arrangement of the Vascular Cryptogams for the purposes of identification and description necessarily remains unchanged, while the comparative morpho logy is being more fully worked out.
Thus the position of the root in Selaginella is different from what obtains in the other Vascular Cryptogams. A point of interest in this heterosporous genus is that the formation of the prothallus may commence before the megaspore is liberated from the sporangium.
It has thus led to a condition of uncertainty as regards the relationship of the great groups of Vascular Cryptogams, in which, however, lies the hope of an ultimate approach to a satisfactory solution.
If, as has been suggested by Bower, the strobiloid types are relatively primitive, the large-leaved Pteridophyta must be supposed to have arisenearly from such forms. The question cannot be discussed fully here, but enough has been said above to show that in the light of our present knowledge the main phyla of the Vascular Cryptogams cannot be placed in any serial relationship to one another.
At present 435 species of phanerogams and vascular cryptogams are known; the lower orders have been little investigated.
It has recently been stated, however, that the supposed Algae are in reality the megaspores of Vascular Cryptogams. Scarcely anything is known of Palaeozoic Florideae; Solenopora, ranging from the Ordovician to the Jurassic, resembles, in the structure of its thallus, with definite zones of growth, Corallinaceae such as Lithothamnion, and may probably be of the same nature.
The Palaeozoic Calamarieae, though so far surpassing recent Equisetaceae, both in stature and complexity of organization, clearly belonged to the same class of Vascular Cryptogams. There is no satisfactory evidence for attributing Phanerogamic e bn FIG.
- Of all Vascular Cryptogams the Ferns have best maintained their position down to the present day.
Much further investigation will be needed before the homologies between Cordaitean cones and the fructifications of the higher Cryptogams can be established.
The Upper Carboniferous and Permian plants may be grouped together as constituting a Permo-Carboniferous flora characterized by an abundance of arborescent Vascular Cryptogams and of an extinct class of plants to which the name Pteridosperms has recently been assigned - plants exhibiting a combination of Cycadean and filicinean characters and distinguished by the production of true gymnospermous seeds of a complex type.
The Palaeozoic types are barely represented; the arborescent Vascular Cryptogams have been replaced by Cycads, Ginkgoales and Conifers as the dominant classes, while Ferns continue to hold their own.
Starting with the Permo-Carboniferous vegetation, and omitting for the moment the Glossopteris flora, we find a comparatively homogeneous flora of wide geographical range, consisting to a large extent of arborescent lycopods, calamites, and other vascular cryptogams, plants which occupied a place comparable with that of Gymnosperms and Angiosperms in our modern forests; with these were other types of the greatest phylogenetic importance, which serve as finger-posts pointing to lines of evolution of which we have but the faintest signs among existing plants.
A flora consisting entirely, with a single doubtful exception, of Gymnosperms and Cryptogams gives place to one containing many flowering plants; and these increase so rapidly that before long they seem to have crowded out many of the earlier types, and to have themselves become the dominant forms. Not only do Angiosperms suddenly become dominant in all known plantbearing deposits of Upper Cretaceous age, but strangely enough the earliest found seem to belong to living orders, and commonly have been referred to existing genera.
Those most allied to the Jurassic - contain only Gymnosperms and Cryptogams. The next division (Dakota No.
The plant-bearing deposits next in age, which have yielded Angiosperms, appear to belong to the Cenomanian, though from Westphalia a few species belonging to the Cryptogams and Gymnosperms, found in deposits correlated with the Gault, have been described by Hosius and von der Marck.
The Cenomanian strata have yielded already 177 species, the different groups being represented in these proportions: Cryptogams, 37, 30 of which are Ferns; Cycads, 8; Conifers, 27; Monocotyledons, 8; Apetalous Dicotyledons, 31; other Dicotyledons, 66.
The Senonian strata have yielded 118 species, 21 of which are Cryptogams, 1 i Conifers, 5 Monocotyledons, 75 Dicotyledons.
Of the 920 species described by Heer, 114 are Cryptogams and 806 flowering plants.
Vascular Cryptogams still include one or two large horsetails with stems over an inch thick, and also 37 species of Fern, amongst the most interesting of which are 5 species belonging to the climbing Lygodium, a genus now living in Java.
According to this catalogue, the true Laramie flora includes about 250 species, more than half of which are deciduous forest trees, herbaceous Dicotyledons, Monocotyledons and Cryptogams, all being but poorly represented.