Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

The Talbragar Fish Beds Flora

These fish beds also contain the most famous Jurassic flora known in Australia. A large assortment of plants are preserved as white impressions on the ochre-coloured silicified shale that forms the deposit.

It has been determined from the plant component of the fossils that the lake was situated in a forest of Agathis (Kauri Pine), with some Podocarp conifers. In the understorey were such plants as the cycadophyte Pentoxylon australica. The genus Pentoxylon is only known for a short time in the fossil record, and is believed to be ancestral to the Pandanus Palm, a line of monocotyledonous Angiosperms.Surrounding the lake was a heath zone that was occupied by descendants of Dicroidium (forked-frond seed fern). Ferns and tree-ferns grew in the same habitats they occupy at the present.

On the Atherton Tablelands are relict Agathis forests with Podocarps and the Cycad Lepidozamia hopei growing in the understorey among the Kauri Pines. This forest is a modern assemblage of plants at a more evolved stage but with the same basic composition as the Jurassic forests surrounding the lake where the Talbragar sediments were deposited 175 million years ago.

A single cicada fossil has been found in this deposit.


  • Rissikia talbragarensis,
  • Agathis jurassica, an Araucarian conifer.
  • Elatocladus planus form species (used when affinities are unknown, will be changed when is can be assigned to a particular group of plants).
  • Pachypteris crassa a seed fern descended from the forked-frond seed fern.
  • Pentoxylon australica

Sources & Further reading

  1. Mary E. White, The Greening of Gondwana, the 400 Million Year story of Australian Plants, Reed, 1994


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 03/08/2012

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