New Plant Kingdom ideas & new cards and chart

Sori on the leaf of a leptosporangiate fern

I recently revised my photo cards for the plant kingdom. They were previously called “Phyla of the Plant Kingdom.” With most of the phyla no longer being used, the title had to change. Now that set is called “Major Branches of the Plant Kingdom.” It still has 40 cards and each card still carries the classification on the back, but there have been changes to the text. I also put in some new photos, such as the one for the leptosporangiate ferns. There are new clearer photos for some of the mosses and club mosses. I’ve combined some illustrations onto one card and added two new families of conifers, the juniper/redwood family, Cupressaceae and the yew family, Taxaceae.

If you are introducing the plant kingdom to elementary students, I recommend the revised Plant Kingdom chart from InPrint for Children.  Carolyn Jones has done her usual high quality design job and added color to the individual illustration cards that go with the chart. Please note that she is closing retail sales soon, but her charts will be available from Montessori Services.

New Plant Kingdom chart from InPrint for Children

New Plant Kingdom chart from InPrint for Children

I’d like to go back and make one more stab at explaining the changing view of the plant kingdom. The bryophytes still have phylum names, so I listed them on my cards, but it would be perfectly OK for precollege levels to simply call them by their common names – liverworts, hornworts, and mosses. These three lineages are monophyletic (“one lineage”) and they have a similar type of life cycle and yet it isn’t totally clear if they share a recent common ancestor. They could be shown on a separate branch or as three separate branches coming from the plant kingdom before the vascular plants branch off.

The first branch of the vascular plants is the lycophytes. If they are a phylum, then the other phylum would have to the euphyllophytes (“true leaf plants”), which is both the monilophytes (fern lineages) and the seed plants. If the fern lineages were to have phyla, there would have to be one for the whisk ferns and the ophioglossid ferns (adder’s tongue and grape ferns), one for the horsetails, one for an obscure group of tropical ferns, and one for the leptosporangiate ferns. The seed plants could have phyla for the gymnosperms and angiosperms or for each of the major seed plant lineages or??? More data is needed, but maybe it is just time to discard phyla for the plants. The view of the full lineage for each group is a much richer view.


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