Creede Formation : Fossil Gallery

More than any other group of fossils, plants are important in reconstructing the past climate of a fossil locality. Reconstructing a picture of the climate of western North America during the Tertiary has been an active area of investigation at UCMP, and our own Howard Schorn collaborated with Jack Wolfe to revise the Creede Flora.

The Creede Flora is rich in fossils of pine and fir, but also includes barberry, hawthorn, gooseberry, and a few species of deciduous tree. All pictures on this page were taken by B. R. Speer from UCMP type materials.

Coniferopsida (conifers)

Abies rigida - a fir.

The photo includes fossils from a wide array of fir parts. Clockwise from upper left are: a fossil branch devoid of needles; fossil needles; fossil branches bearing needles; winged seeds; and two cone scales.

Abies rigida - a fir.

Pinus crossii - a pine.

Juniperus creedensis - a juniper.

Monocotyledonae (Glumiflorae)

Monocotylophyllum sp. - a grass-like plant.

Originally named Cyperacites creedensis, these leaf fossils do not have enough characters to positively identify the group of monocots from which they come, but they almost certainly come from a grass, sedge, or rush.

Ranunculids (Berberidaceae)

Mahonia aceroides - mahonia.

Asterids (Bignoniaceae)

Catalpa coloradensis - a catalpa.

Originally described as a water lily, close examination of the branching patterns in the fossil leaves showed that these fossils actually come from the broad-leaf tree Catalpa, which today grows in the southeastern United States and in southeast China.