One way to tell the difference between Neuropteris and Pecopteris leaf imprints is by examining the mid-vein of their leaflets. In Neuropteris, the vein stops midway up the leaflet and splits into several veins, whereas the mid-vein in Pecopteris extends up to the tip. Neuropteris leaflets are usually blunt tipped and are attached by a single stem as opposed by the entire base, like Pecopteris. Also, Neuropteris has an overall heartshape.
Click on the image to enlarge and examine closely the details of the leaflets.
Neuropteris became extinct over 200 million years ago. It thrived in the tropics of the Carboniferous Era between the Mississipian Period, 350 mya, and the Permian Period, 225 mya. It grew on the seed fern tree called Medullosa, an ancestor of the flowering plant group. They flourished in hot swamps, a climate which dominated much of the Earth at the time. When Earth’s climate turned colder, it contributed to their final disappearance.
Division: Tracheophyta (vascular plants with system of transporting nutrients and liquids)
Class: Gymnosperm (means bare seeds – today’s examples i.e. conifers, cyads, ginkgo)
Order: Pteridospermales (extinct group of seed ferns which bore seeds on leaves)
Family: Medullosales (plants with complex pollen organs and large fronds)
Genera: Neuropteris (given name of foliage)
Explanation of Pecopteris on next page under Category Section of Plant/Tree Fossils