plants

Prehistoric and Modern Extinct Plants

Extinct plants are not just an occurrence limited to plants that were living in the Jurassic or Cretaceous period; there are many different plants that have become extinct in modern day. Some plants are completely extinct, there is no sign of them to be found; while others are extinct in the wild yet continue to be grown in places like botanical gardens.

Prehistoric Extinct Plants

It is not surprising that many plants that thrived in prehistoric times no longer exist. One such plant is called Sigillaria. Sigillaria is interesting because it was a tree that did not have wood. Instead, this tree had a photosynthetic surface on its trunk, meaning it was probably green rather than brown. Sigillaria is thought to have become extinct early during the Permian period.

A prehistoric tree from that Jurassic period that was thought to be extinct in the wild is now a popular herbal supplement. Ginkgo biloba is really a living fossil that has been around for millions of years. Although it was thought to be extinct in the wild, they have been found in small areas in eastern China. Ginkgo trees can live to be 3,000 years old.

Modern Extinct Plants

The St. Helena Mountain Bush was driven to extinction because of human encroachment on its habitat. It was last seen in the 19th century on its home island of St. Helena which is located in the Atlantic. Another plant that was forced into extinction for the same reason on St. Helena is the St. Helena Olive. This plant was last seen in the wild in 1994 and efforts to cultivate it failed when the last plant died in 2003.

One of the first plants to become extinct on the island of St. Helena was the dwarf ebony. This plant has not been seen since the 1700’s and may have become extinct due to the introduction of goats to the island.

Macoun's Shining Moss is a type of moss that was only found in Ontario, Canada. It was only found in a very small area that was clear-cut during the last half of the 19th century. There were surveys conducted in the latter part of the 20th century that yielded no results.

Chocolate Cosmos is a type of cosmos that was native to Mexico. Thankfully it is not completely extinct, although it is extinct in the wild. This plant has survived through cloning (like many extinct in the wild plants) and it cannot be seeded since it does not self-propagate.


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extinct plants
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Extinct | Definition of Extinct by Merriam-Webster
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Gardening Tip #7

Foliage plants usually have high nitrogen needs, while flowering plants, K2O is needed. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost. However, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Feed plants during their most active growth period.