The first tree emerged during the Earth's Devonian period, which was approximately 416 million to 358 million years ago. Scientists believe the first tree was the Archeopteris, a species that is now extinct.
This tree species was among the first to be able to deliver nutrients and water to its leaves and roots. Scientists believe that the litter from this tree was a major contributing factor to the emergence of freshwater fish species that would go on to influence sea life. As many as 90 percent of forests were home to this species, although other trees would arise and then go extinct during the period in which the tree thrived.