This is a detailed, exceptional fossil of a branch of the plant Walchia sp.. This was a prehistoric conifer that lived in the swamp forests of what is now Western Germany during the Lower Permian. The plate and fossil has NO REPAIR OR RESTORATION and shows superb natural detail preserved.
SPECIAL NOTE: The current laws in this region of Germany have forbid the collection of fossils since 1986 with this quarry specifically, being closed and protected by state law. Legislation has permanently ended the hope of ever securing any new specimens as this one being offered here. This piece comes from an old German private collection and was collected long ago before the ban was enacted.
Walchia was a prehistoric plant that thrived during the Permian Period, before the first dinosaurs walked the earth. The roots of these plants were not particularly strong and during storms, large numbers were up-rooted and deposited in low lying regions, rapidly buried under sediments. These buried beds of decomposing plants existed in a unique environment without oxygen during the breakdown process. The result was the formation of coal which is found today in the region.
These plant fossils were formed in a different manner from the coal deposits. The fossils were found in what once was a swampy aquatic environment and their burial was less dramatic than mass burials that formed coal beds. Alongside these graceful plants, fish such as Paramblypterus and amphibians such as Sclerocephalus swam below the quiet, calm Permian waters nearby. They lived and went extinct before the very first dinosaurs!