FIRST TREES -- LIKE, EVER

For millions of years, the tallest plants on   Earth were naked twigs that grew only inches to a few feet high with their roots in water or boggy soil.  The very next phase known is the Gilboa forest, where Eospermatopteris stood 30 feet tall and boasted many branches frilled with fine leaflike filaments.

 

This sudden surge in plant height may have been a “race to the sun” as plants evolved more competitive shapes that helped them avoid the shade cast by close-growing neighbors. The tallest Gilboa “trees” were palmlike in shape, with lightweight, woodless trunks and many buttressing roots that made a conelike “foot” which propped the plants upright on solid ground.  They left no modern descendants.