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Plants herbaceous or arborescent; stems fistulose, articulate, traversed at the articulations by a solid wall (diaphragm), marked on the outside face of the bark by longitudinal parallel narrow ribs and furrows; leaves verticillate, free in their whole length or confluent at base, linear-lanceolate or subspatulate or wedge form, simple, nerved or plurinerved; branches from the axils of the leaves, verticillate.


: woody, treelike.

: jointed.

: angle between a twig and the stem of a leaf.
confluent: flowing together.

: hollow.

: devoid of woody tissue, such as a leaf.

: narrow & pointed.
plurinerved: having multiple veins.

: not quite spoon-shaped.

: arranged like the spokes of a wheel.

Plants that can be either free of woody tissue or treelike; with hollow stems that are segmented with closed ends like bamboo and which have lengthwise ridges and valleys; leaves arranged in whorls, emanating from a common point, sometimes one-at-a-time and sometimes having common stems and shaped either narrow and pointy, somewhat spoon-like, or tapering, without adjacent leaflets, having various arrangements of parallel veins; branches forming in the nook between a leaf and the main stem and radiating outwards.

[Definitions and translation added by GL,III, ed.]

To this order, represented in the vegetation of this epoch by the Equisetaceae (Horse-tail family), I refer the genera Bornia, Calamodendron, Asterophyllites, Annularia, Sphenophyllum, Calamostachys, Macrostachya, Equisetites and Trochophyllum ?

The plants of this order are very common in the Carboniferous measures, often found imbedded in sandstone, but more generally in the coal, where they constitute by their remains distinct layers of combustible matter, sometimes of remarkable thickness. As represented in the North American Coal Measures, their characters are taken merely from the inside and outside impressions of the bark, and from the branches, leaves and organs of fructification, transformed into coal, or preserved upon the stony matter imbedding their remains.

A marked difference seems to exist in the structure of the trunks, and in the character of the texture; some authors, who have been able to study it from silicified specimens, have separated these plants into two groups, one referred to the
Equisetaceae, the other the dicotyledonous gymnosperms, under the names of Calamitea and Calamodendron. The evidence on the subject is not yet sufficient for definitive conclusions, and, deprived of the means of pursuing anatomical researches of that kind, for until now we have had no silicified specimens of any remains of these plants in the North American Coal measures, I follow here the distribution admitted by Schimper, referring to Calamariae all the coal plants whose characters recognized from the outside of the remains, agree with the above description.

The students who wish to become acquainted with the views of the Phytopaleontologists upon the difficult subject of the internal structure of the Calamites, will find abundant materials exposed and discussed in the works of Petzhold, Cotta, Brongniart, (who in his Tableau des Genres reverses a former opinion expressed in the Histoire des Vegetaux fossils,) Unger, Goeppert, Ettingshausen, especially in the English authors Binney and Williamson, (who are contradicted by Dawson, of Montreal,) and more recently in Weiss, Grand'Eury and Stur.

The whole matter is reviewed by Schimper in a clear and very interesting resume, Paleont. veget. I, p. 291-312.

Calamites communis CALAMITES CANNAEFORMIS Calamites cruciatus CALAMITES DUBIUS
CALAMITES MAJOR Calamites decoratus Calamites varians Calamites bistriatus?


Plants arborescent; trunks cylindrical, articulate; articulations variable in distance, rapidly closer towards the narrowed obconical base; surface narrowly ribbed and furrowed lengthwise; ribs equal, simple, parallel, contracted or rounded at the articulations; branches nearly at right angles, verticillate like the leaves, which are lanceolate acuminate, simple nerved.

The Calamites are rarely found with branches attached to the trunks, and still more rarely with leaves attached to the branches. I have never seen in the American Coal Measures branches bearing leaves in connection with a trunk of Calamites except of one species.

Schimper has described most of the species of
Asterophyllites under the generic name of Calamocladus, which represents their derivation from Calamites as branches. This relation is generally admitted, but I think that the branches with leaves, found attached to trunks, have to be described in their totality as Calamites; all the others whose relation to trunks is not positively known find their place in the old genus Asterophyllites.

The species of
Calamites are vaguely defined in their characters. Those who have on hand only a few specimens recognize easily marked differences and may therefore indefinitely multiply the species. But after a prolonged comparison of a large number of fragments of these plants, the points of differences, appreciable at first, become blended or gradually pass into each other in such a way that some authors, like Ettinghausen, have merged all the forms into a simple original type, recognizing one species only. If, as it seems proved, Asterophyllites are branches of Calamites, as these branches have positively characters distinct enough to force their distribution into a number of species, the trunks cannot represent a single type with mere varieties. Therefore variations, though obscurely distinguishable upon the bark of the trunks, have to be considered as specific. This is the opinion of the generality of Phytopaleontologists and my experience forces me to admit it as really authorized.

Roots of
Calamites are as rarely found attached to the stems as are the branches. Grand'Eury in his Flore Carbonifere, a splendid work recently published, represents the base of stems as obconical, gradually pointed, sometimes curved, even horizontal, short pointed at both ends, and thus subterranean with close articulation, bearing, instead of leaves, bundles of narrow flat rootlets diverging around at right angles. It seems therefore that the lower part of the stems represent a kind of rhizoma, as the articulations sometimes bear instead of radicles small obconical branches really bases of stems of the same plants. One of the figures however represents a linear narrowly ribbed and articulate rhizoma, emitting at the articulation either radicles or obconical fragments of stem. I have seen on ferruginous nodules of Mazon Creek fragments of linear, leaf-like appendages which seem to belong to Calamites as roots. I have also described with Calamites Cannaeformis scars of rootlets, but have never found any kind of organs referable to roots attached to stems of Calamites, not even on the basilar fragments of these plants, seen standing in groups or as a forest imbedded into sandstone at Carbondale. Grand'Eury observes that these vegetable organs are easily destroyed, soon disappear, and that more generally the base of the trunk is naked.

CALAMITES SUCKOWII Brgt., Plate I, Figs. 3, 4.

Calamites Suckowii, Brgt., Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 124, Pl. XV, f. 1-6; XVI, f. 2-4.

Gein. Verst., p. 6, Pl. XIII, f. 1-6.

Weiss, Foss. flo., p. 117, Pl. XIII, f. 5.

Heer Fl. fos. Helv., IV, p. 46.

Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850; Geol. Rept. of Ills., II, p. 445.

Schp. Paleont. Veget., p. 312, Pl. XVIII, f. 1.

Calamites nodosus, Brgt., l.c., p. 133, Pl. XXIII, f. 3.

Calamites communis, Ett. Beitr. in Natur. Abh. von W. Haidinger, IV, 1, p. 73.

Stem generally broader than the space between the articulations (internodes); ribs half round or planoconvex, obtuse at the articulations; furrows narrow, obtusely carinate; tubercles (impressions of leaves) more or less distinct, oval.

The stems average seven to twelve centimeters in thickness when not flattened. The epidermis is very thin, smooth and the bark also thin, the ribs distinct, the articulations somewhat variable, close toward the base. When decorticated, the under surface, distinctly ribbed, is narrowly striate lengthwise, more obscurely so on the outside surface.

This most common species of our coal measures is generally represented in flattened fragments in the shale overlaying the coal, but always in cylindrical sections of stems in the sandstone. Near Carbondale, Pa., there is a standing forest of
Calamites, stems or trunks, buried in a bed of hard sandstone twenty feet thick or more. From an inclined tunnel cut through this sandstone to the coal below, such a mass of fragments of stems have been taken out that a long viaduct has been constructed of them. All the fragments represent the same species; all have their original cylindrical shape preserved, but many are folded or plaited on the surface in various directions, as are generally the hollow stems like those of reeds by the compression of an outside force.

The tubercles are mostly oval, but also sometimes round, half globular, smooth, placed at the top of the ribs, rarely at their base.

Habitat—All the strata of the middle coal measures from the conglomerate to the Pittsburgh Coal, or in the Anthracite from the Mammoth Vein to the Salem Vein.


Foss. p. 119, Pl. XIII, f. 6; Pl. XIV, f. 1.

Stem large; internodes short; ribs broader, somewhat angular or obtuse in joining the articulations; scars large oval; cortex thicker.

Weiss has separated this species as intermediate between
Calamites Suckowii and Calamites gigas, I think, with good reason. The specimen which I refer to this and which had been left as uncertainly referable to one of these two species, is a large stem, twenty-four centimeters broad, flattened to a thickness of five centimeters; the articulations are only four to four and a half centimeters distant; the ribs nearly three millimeters wide, convex, with concave furrows, and the coaly bark nearly twice as thick as in the generality of the specimens of Calamites Suckowii.

The characters are definite and evidently different from both the related congeners, and the specimen preserved in concretions is very distinct.

Habitat—Mazon Creek concretions.

CALAMITES RAMOSUS, Artis, Plate I, Fig. 2.

Artis, Antedel. Phytol., Pl. II.

Brgt., Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 127, Pl. XVII, f. 5, 6.

Gutb., Abdr., p. 18, Pl. II, f. 6.

Gr. d'Eury, Pl. carb, p. 20, Pl. II, f. 4.

Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850; Geol. Rept. of Ills., II, P. 445.

Calamites Suckowii, Schp., Paleont. veget., p. 812.

Stem branching; articulations distant; ribs flat; furrows narrow; tubercles oval, often undefined at both ends of the ribs; scars of branches large, round.

This species is evidently distinct from
Calamites Suckowii by the distant articulations, the branches attached to the middle of the articulations, covering them with their large scars extending equally both ways, above and below. The branches are large, comparatively to the stems, as seen from the specimen figured, which measures nine centimeters in diameter (flattened) and the branch nearly three centimeters. Another specimen from Cannelton, twenty-eight centimeters long, four and a half centimeters broad (flattened), has five articulations, the basilar ones four and a half centimeters distant, the upper ones seven to eight, with flat, distinct ribs, rather continuous than alternating, more or less inflated at the articulations, or with indistinct undefined tubercles and branch scars large and round. Still another specimen from the same locality, forty-three centimeters long, seven centimeters broad (flattened), has only three articulations, sixteen to eighteen centimeters distant, one of them with a branch somewhat oblique, ten centimeters long, one and a half centimeters broad at the narrowed base, without any articulation. All the specimens I have seen of this species present the same characters. Per contra, from the immense number of fragments of Calamites Suckowii, mentioned above as seen at Carbondale, I have not found a single one marked with scars of a branch and none with long internodes.

Habitat—It is not as common as
Calamites Suckowii, though distributed also over the whole thickness of the middle coal measures, Gate Vein, near Pottsville, Murphysborough and Duquoin, Ills., Cannelton, Pa., in fine specimens.

Culm Flora, p. 82, Pl. III, f. 3, 3b, 4.   Pl. IV, f. 2, 3, 4; f. 18, p. 26.

Stem small; bark thin; articulations and furrows scarcely marked upon the bark, distinct on the dicorticated surface; furrows close, narrow, fiat, some converging, others continuous; ribs very narrow; tubercles scarcely distinct; branches narrowed to the base; articulations distant.

This description of the author concords in most of its points with the characters of a conglomerate species, of which a large number of fragments have been obtained at Pittston, Pa. The main stem about ten centimeters broad, with distant articulations, is marked on the cortex with flat, scarcely distinct furrows, and very narrow ribs, the whole surface being very thinly lineate. The tubercles are indistinct or none. The primary branches, nearly two centimeters broad (flattened), have articulations twelve centimeters distant, the secondary branches five millimeters broad have them six centimeters distant, and bear whorls of leaves and branchlets of a third order, with gradually shorter sub-divisions and shorter leaves. The leaves are flat, lanceolate-acuminate, slightly narrowed from the middle to the point of attachment, comparatively long, two centimeters in the lowest whorls, with a broad, rarely distinguishable medial nerve. By their size and shape these leaves are remarkably similar to those of
Asterophyllites foliosus, as figured by Gein. Verst., Pl. XVI, f. 2. But in this last species the articulations are close, and as seen f. 1, the branches are rapidly decreasing in size upwards. In the sub-conglomerate species, the branches are long and cylindrical. If, as indicated by Schimper, Asterophyllites foliosus, of Ll. & Hutt., and of Gein., is referable to Calamites Suckowii, our American species has nothing comparable to it except the leaves. It could be more easily confounded with Calamites ramosus, but is evidently different by its narrow furrows, only one millimeter broad, while in a stem of the same diameter those of the former species are three millimeters wide; by the absence of tubercles, and especially by the contraction of the ribs, three, more generally four, towards deep round points, scars of small adventive buds, placed on the articulations, sometimes very close to each other. On one of my specimens, these bud scars are only four to five millimeters distant, and thus all the ribs, without exception, are converging in fascicles of three to six to these scars. The contraction of the ribs is perfectly distinct under the thin bark, but obscure upon its smooth surface. Remarkably enough, the larger scars of developed branches change the direction of the ribs in an opposite way, the middle ones being abruptly cut by the borders of the branches, while the lateral, forced outside, turn around the scar or are continuous. A disposition of the same kind, but far less regular, is often remarked on specimens of Calamites approximatus, as figured by Gein. Verst., Pl. XI, f. 2 and 5 ; Pl. XII, f. 1-2 ; also by Schimper, Atlas, Plate XIX, f. 1, etc. This however is a species far different by its close articulations, broader ribs, and generally distinct tubercles.

Habitat—Sub-conglomerate shale, Campbell's ledge, near Pittston. Specimens in the cabinet of Mr. R. D. Lacoe. The last specimen described, with ribs converging to the articulations, is from Cannelton, communicated by Mr. I. F. Mansfield.

CALAMITES CANNAEFORMIS, Schloth., Plate I, Fig. 1.

Schloth., Petrf., p. 398, Pl. XX, f. 1.

Brgt. Hist. d. Veg. foss., p. 131, Pl. XXI.
Gein. Verst., p. 5, Pl. XIII, f. 8; Pl. XIV, f. 1, 2, 4.
Gr. d' Ey., Fl. Carb., p. 21, Pl. III, f. 1-2.
Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850.
Schimp. Paleont. veget. 1, p. 316, Pl. XX, f. 1-3.

Calamites decoratus, Brgt., l.c., p. 123, Pl. XIV, f. 1-5.

Artis, Antedil. Phytol., Pl. XXIV.

Calamites suckowii, Heer, Fl. foss. Helv., IV, p. 46.

Stem large; articulations variable in distance; furrows broad, obtuse, sometimes marked in the middle by a sharp thin line; ribs convex, wedgeform, and alternately joined at the articulations; scars of leaves distinct, obsolete or absent.

The species is much like
Calamites Suckowii, and separated from it by rather indefinite characters. The ribs are larger, more distinctly convex, wedge form, and alternately connivent at the articulations; the furrows broader, more obtusely carinate. The ribs are generally broader, more flattened toward the obconical base of the stems, sometimes bearing distinct round tubercles, a form which has been separated by Brongniart as Calamites decoratus. The ribs of this species are sometimes as large as those of Calamites Gigas, as seen by the fragments figured by Schimper l.c., and by Geinitz l.c., Pl. XIV, f. 2. One of my specimens, from Mazon creek, the basilar part of a flattened stem, nine centimeters in diameter, has the ribs five millimeters broad. The specimen bears round or oval scars, irregularly placed over the whole stem, five millimeters in diameter, evidently scars of roots, marked by central punctiform, convex, broad papilla), like the vascular scars of Stigmaria. This form is transient to Calamites gigas, and as far as I can see, separated from it merely by the smaller size of the stems, and its habitat in the true coal measures. It seems to represent the fragment described by Goepp., as Calamites variolatus, Fl. d. Uebergsg., p. 124, Pl. V. It is the only specimen I have seen of this character.

Habitat—It has the same distribution as
Calamites Suckowii, but is more rarely found.

Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 136, Pl. XXVII.

Weiss, Foss. fl., p. 117, Pl. XIII, f. 8; Pl. XIV, f. 2.
Schp., Paleont. veget., 1, p. 319, Pl. XX, f. 2, 4.

Stem very thick; ribs six to eight millimeters wide, convex, without tubercles, wedge-form, and alternate at the articulations.

I have a mere fragment, showing by its outside curve to be part of a trunk thirty or thirty-five centimeters in diameter, with convex ribs seven millimeters broad, and sharp narrow furrows. From the presence of this specimen, I consider the locality where it was found as Permian or permo-carboniferous.

Habitat—Rocky Mountains in Sandstone with
Calamites Cistii, and the trunks remarked upon in the description of Calamodendron. Communicated by the U. S. Geol. Survey of the Territories, under the direction of Dr. F. V. Hayden.
CALAMITES APPROXIMATUS, Schloth.--Plate I, Fig. 5.

Calamites approximatus (et interruptus?) Schloth., Petref., p. 399,400, Pl. XX, f. 2.

Artis. Antedel. Phytol., Pl. IV.

Ll. &. Hutt., Foss; fl., I, Pl. LXXVII ; Pl. CCXVI.

Brgt. Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 133, Pl. XV, f. 7, 8; Pl. XXIV.

Gein., Verst., p. 7, Pl. XI, f. 1-5 ; Pl. XII, f. 1-3.

Heer. Fl., foss. Helv., IV., p. 46, Pl. XX, f. 5.

Lesqx. Geol. of Penna., 1858, p.
850; Geol. Rept. of Ill., II, p. 445.

Schp., Paleont. Veget., I, p. 314, Pl. XVIII, f. 2; Pl. XIX.

Calamites cruciatus, elongatus, alternans, difformis, Petzholdi, leiodermus, Gutb.

Calamites varians, St. Germ. Weiss.

Calamites communis, Ett., ex parte, etc.

Stems very variable in size; cortex comparatively thick; articulations somewhat contracted, close, especially towards the base; ribs indistinct on the bark, clearly marked on the impressions of the underside, convex, with deep furrows, two or three sometimes converging at their base on the articulations.

This species is the most common and the most variable of all. The distance between the articulations is never as long as the width of the stems; it varies between one centimeter and three. When flattened, the stems are often split lengthwise as in
Plate I, f. 5. Therefore they seem to have been hollow cylinders without woody axis, like Calamites Suckowii.

There is, however, as yet a great deal of uncertainty about the true characters of this species.
Calamites cruciatus, Brgt., generally considered by European authors as a variety of Calamites approximatus, differs especially by the convergence of some of the ribs to the round points, placed upon the articulations, as described above from a specimen referred to Calamites ramifer. This variety is very common. Geinitz, l.c., represents it especially. The figures of Schimper's Atlas of the Paleont. veget., 1.c., represents also a specimen with this character. Grand'Eury, Fl. Carb., p. 294, considering this Calamite as the bark of a Calamodendron, refer it to the Cotyledonous. As seen from the section of a trunk, Pl. XXX, f. 7, of his work, this bark is the outer layer of a concentric series of thick woody zones. In the large number of Carboniferous specimens which I have examined of this so-called variety of Calamites approximatus, I have been able to see only a comparatively thin bark, and under it, the striae representing the impression of the under surface resting upon clay or inorganic matter, without traces of woody fibers underneath, or any coaly matter representing them.

Habitat—It is found in its numerous varieties in all the strata of the middle coal measures.

CALAMITES CISTII, Brgt.—Plate I, Fig. 6.

Brgt. Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 129, Pl. XX.

Gein., Verst., p. 7, Pl. XII, f. 4, 5 ; Pl. XIII, f. 7.

Heer, Fl. foss. Helv., IV, p. 47, Pl. XX, f. 3.

Grd. 'E., Fl. Carb., p. 19, Pl. II, f. 1, 3.

Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850; Geol. Rept. of Ill., II, p. 445.

Schp., Paleont. Veget., p. 313.

Calamites varians, Weiss, Foss. fl., p. 114.

Articulations about equally distant except toward the base; ribs narrow, half round, with obtuse striate furrows; tubercles generally absent or small, round, indistinct.

This species is easily recognized by its regular narrow ribs, either convex or half round, the length of the inter-nodes greater than in
Calamites Suckowii, and the general absence of leaf tubercles. The stems are generally of small size, at least, never as large as the distance between the articulations.

Habitat—Not rare in the middle Coal measures; especially common in the anthracite basin of Penna.; Carbondale, Pittston and Wilkesbarre. I have seen one specimen only from the concretions of Mazon Creek.


Antedel. Phytol., Pl. XIII.

Brgt., Hist. d. veg. foss., p. 130, Pl. XVIII, f. 1-3.

Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850.

Schp., Faleont. Veget., 1, p. 313.

Calamites bistriatus? Lesqx., l.c., p. 850, Pl. II, f. 1.

Articulations distant; ribs narrow, of the same character as those of the former; furrows more distinctly striate; tubercles mostly obsolete.

This species is very much like the former. It essentially differs by larger stems and longer internodes, sometimes thirty to fifty centimeters long. Therefore, fragments of this species, one foot long or more, are sometimes found without articulations. The lines or striae of the surface are more distinct than on any other species of
Calamites. The ribs average one millimeter in width; rarely, and only when flattened, two millimeters.

The fragment figured as
Calamites bistriatus, Lesqx., l.c., may be referable to this species. The ribs are however twice as broad, the furrows very narrow, rather acutely carinate than obtuse. It might be compared to Calamites Suckowii, but for the absence of tubercles, the distinctly striate surface both upon and under the bark, and the contraction of the articulations. As I have not seen any other fragment similarly related than the one figured, the species is left uncertain.

Habitat—Same as the former. Mr. R. D. Lacoe has many very large specimens of both these two last species in his cabinet. The first are from E vein (Butler v.) of Pittston; those referable to this species come from Oliphant No. 1 vein.


Hist d. veg. foss., p. 132, Pl. XXII.

Stem large; bark thick; articulations distant; ribs scarcely marked on the outer surface, but distinct under the bark, flat, unequal, often converging; tubercles obsolete.

This species is not mentioned by any other of the European authors, except Grand'Eury, who places it among the doubtful species. He has, however, seen standing
Calamites, with the characters described by Brongniart. I cannot say anything more positive on the subject. I have found in the conglomerate sandstone of Caseyville, Ky., large pieces of bark, twenty  to thirty centimeters broad, five to eight millimeters thick, with the under surface distinctly and unequally ribbed, and traces of distant articulations. There is also in the State cabinet of Illinois, a fragment answering exactly to Brongniart's description, with the same characters, thickness of the bark especially, as the specimens from Caseyville, and the under surface more distinctly ribbed. These are the only fragments which I have considered as referable to the species. Like most of the vegetable remains imbedded in Conglomerate Sandstone, they are badly preserved, and the characters always more or less uncertain.

Habitat—Conglomerate measures, Caseyville, Ky.

Calamites of uncertain relation.

CALAMITES DISJUNCTUS, Lesqx., Geol. of Penna., 1858, p. 850, Pl. II, f. 5.

Stem small; articulations comparatively distant, thick, marked in the lower part by an inflated ring; surface punctate and dotted.

I have seen only as comparable to the fragment described, a specimen from Cannelton, which probably represents the same species. The articulations are at equal distances, a little more than two centimeters, marked just underneath or in the middle, by a distinct elevated ring, which cuts the ribs square, without deranging their direction exactly; as in
Bornia radiata. The ribs are quite flat, striate, but rendered somewhat obscure by a corrugation of the surface, comparable to the dotting upon the first specimen described under this name.

Habitat—Cannelton, Pa., I. F. Mansfield. The specimen described in Geol. of Penna., l.c., was found at the Gate Vein, near Pottsville.

CALAMITES GRACILIS, Sp. nov., Plate LXXV, f. 17.

Branch narrow; articulations close, strangled; ribs fat; furrows marked by a mere line; cortex comparatively thick.

This branch, originally more than twenty centimeters long, is only five millimeters broad, with articulations two centimeters distant, narrowed or strangled. The flat ribs are marked merely by thin lines representing the furrows. No branches of
Calamites or of any species of this section are to my knowledge comparable to this. The pieces of bark surrounding the articulations, seem like remains of sheaths, and give to this fragment the aspect of a stem of Equisetum. But the pellicle of bark, thick, at least comparatively to the size of the stem, is merely irregularly lacerated, as by erosion, and does not show the border teeth of a sheath. I found this specimen in a bed of black ferruginous limestone, with impressions of marine invertebrates, and a few decomposed and indistinct vegetable fragments. The coaly bark and the striae are characters which prevent its reference to marine plants.

Habitat—Upper Coal strata, Western Kentucky.