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Aglaophyton is a genus of early plants from the Pragian stage of the Lower Devonian (~410 mya). It was a small, diplohaplontic species of terrestrial plant, meaning that it had a life cycle that alternated between sporophyte and gametophyte stages (this is the method by which land plants undergo sexual reproduction). Aglaophyton had morphological features that labeled it as an intermediate between the bryophytes (non-vascular plants) and tracheophytes (vascular plants). Non-vascular plants do not use a xylem and phloem for the transport of water whereas vascular plants do. Examples of extant non-vascular plants include liverworts. Aglaophyton were free-sporing, meaning it had no pollen or seeds and the spores are the way the plant disperses. It grew in a mat of horizontal vines that had terminal sporangia (the spore forming organs) that turned upwards into the air (Remy & Remy, 1980; Edwards, 1986; Remy & Hass, 1996; Taylor et al. 2008).
The fossil remains of this species are restricted to the Rhynie chert in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. During the Lower Devonian, this area’s environment was dominated by hot springs and silica rich substrates somewhat like parts of Yellowstone National Park. This location was a hot bed of early plant evolution, as Aglaophyton was found here with a number of early vascular plants and Asteroxian mackei, the precursor to modern Lycopsida, or clubmosses (Edwards, 1986; Powell et al., 2000a; Powell et al., 2000b).