Cryptospores are fossilised primitive plant spores that first appear in the fossil record during the late Ordovician to early Silurian period.

Evidence that cryptospores derive from land plants


Cryptospores are generally found in non-marine rocks and decrease in abundance with distance offshore. This suggests that any cryptospores found in the marine environment were transported there by the wind from the land, rather than originating from the marine environment.

Wall Ultrastructure

The lignified walls of cryptospores consist of many lamellae (thin sheets). Liverworts, thought to be the most primitive land plants, also have this spore wall morphology.

Other information

Recently, fossils of plant sporangia have been found in Oman with cryptospores showing concentric lamellae in their walls, similar to liverworts.


Steemans, P. (2000). "Miospore evolution from the Ordovician to the Silurian". Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 113 (1-3): 189–196.

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