Definition of calamite in US English:



  • A jointed-stemmed swamp plant of an extinct group related to the horsetails, growing to a height of 60 feet (18 m). Calamites are characteristic fossils of the Carboniferous coal measures.

    Calamites and other genera, family Calamitaceae, class Sphenopsida

    • ‘The as-yet-undescribed Upper Pease River flora is quite limited in composition, with cordaitean material most conspicuous and minor representatives of calamites, gigantopterids, and pteridophylls.’
    • ‘The wonderful silicified Permian ferns from Brazil, such as psaronias, tieteas, and calamites, are also described.’
    • ‘Like the lycopod trees, these woody calamites scarcely survived the ‘Age of Coal’, and by the mid-Permian they were extinct.’
    • ‘The latter group comprises the archaeocalamites, calamites, and horsetails.’
    • ‘Coal forests of giant lycopods, calamites, pteridophytes and ferns cover the tropical landmasses.’
    • ‘The old tropical coal swamps (with their giant lycopods, calamites, and cordaitales) declined and disappeared with the drier and cooler climate, surviving only in China and in high latitudes of Pangaea.’


Modern Latin, from calamus.