One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: designating a division of geological time during which land plants evolved and lower vascular plants (ferns, horsetails, cycads, etc.) became dominant. Now also: designating or relating to the type of plant or vegetation characteristic of this time (though overlapping in occurrence with the later Mesophytic flora).
Chiefly with the. The Palaeophytic era.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Popular Science Monthly. From French paléophytique from paléo- + phyt- + -ique, after paléozoïque.
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