Huia (plant)

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Temporal range: Early Devonian
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Lycophytes (?)
Genus: Huia
  • † H. recurvata B.Y.Geng[1]
  • † H. gracilis De M.Wang & S.G.Hao[2]

Huia is a genus of extinct vascular plants of the Early Devonian (Pragian or Siegenian, around 410 million years ago). The genus was first described in 1985 based on fossil specimens from the Posongchong Formation, Wenshan district, Yunnan, China.


The sporophyte of H. recurvata consisted of leafless stems (axes), branching both dichotomously and pseudomonopodially (i.e. with unequal divisions creating a 'main stem'). The sporangia (spore-forming organs) were born in terminal spikes on fertile stems, with the sporangia spirally arranged on stalks which curved downwards. The central strand of vascular tissue contained G-type tracheids. It was initially provisionally assigned to the "rhyniophytes".[1] However, this group is defined as having terminal sporangia, whereas those of Huia are lateral, suggesting affinity with the zosterophylls.[3]

A second species, H. gracilis, was described from the Xujiachong Formation (Pragian–early Emsian), Qujing district, Yunnan, China. It differs from H. recurvata in its more slender morphology and its lack of pseudomonopodial branching. The adaxial sporangia, which were oval or elongated oval in shape, split (dehisced) along their length at right angles to the stem. It is suggested that Huia may have originated from early Cooksonia-like plants.[2] Others suggest that its position is uncertain.[4]


A cladogram published in 2004 by Crane et al. places Huia in a paraphyletic stem group of broadly defined "zosterophylls", basal to the lycopsids (living and extinct clubmosses and relatives).[3]



†basal groups (Adoketophyton, Discalis, Distichophytum (=Rebuchia), Gumuia, Huia, Zosterophyllum myretonianum, Z. llanoveranum, Z. fertile)

†'core' zosterophylls (Zosterophyllum divaricatum, Tarella, Oricilla, Gosslingia, Hsua, Thrinkophyton, Protobarinophyton, Barinophyton obscurum, B. citrulliforme, Sawdonia, Deheubarthia, Konioria, Anisophyton, Serrulacaulis, Crenaticaulis)

†basal groups (Nothia, Zosterophyllum deciduum)

lycopsids (extant and extinct members)

By contrast, Hao and Xue in 2013 listed the genus as a rhyniophyte, thus placing it outside the zosterophylls and even lycophytes.[5]


  1. ^ a b c Geng, Bao-Yin (1985), "Huia recurvata — A New Plant from Lower Devonian of Southeastern Yunnan China", Acta Botanica Sinica (in Chinese and English), 27 (4): 419–426
  2. ^ a b Wang, D.-M. & Hao, S.-G. (2001), "A new species of vascular plants from the Xujiachong Formation (Lower Devonian) of Yunnan Province, China", Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 114 (3–4): 157–174, doi:10.1016/S0034-6667(01)00041-0
  3. ^ a b Crane, P. R.; Herendeen, P.; Friis, E. M. (2004), "Fossils and plant phylogeny", American Journal of Botany, 91 (10): 1683–1699, doi:10.3732/ajb.91.10.1683, PMID 21652317
  4. ^ Taylor, T. N.; Taylor, E. L. & Krings, M. (2009), Paleobotany, The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants (2nd ed.), Amsterdam; Boston: Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-373972-8, p. 249
  5. ^ Hao, Shougang & Xue, Jinzhuang (2013), The early Devonian Posongchong flora of Yunnan: a contribution to an understanding of the evolution and early diversification of vascular plants, Beijing: Science Press, p. 329, ISBN 978-7-03-036616-0, retrieved 2019-10-25

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