Fossil Plants, from Proterozoic to late Permian
The collection with focus on the Carboniferous (approx. 90,000 items) includes approximately 130,000 macro objects and numerous micro objects. The latter were never counted. The collection comprises entire tree trunks, parts of fern branches and minute fruit formations. According to our records, the oldest piece joined the collection in 1795. The origins of the collection, however, date back even further. Active research leads to the continuous extension of our collection, which owes its value to the large number of holotypes and approximately 4,000 originals.
Proterozoic to Carboniferous
Due to its history, the Palaeophytic collections naturally focus on Central Europe. The bulk of its contents originates from the Königlich-Preußische Geologische Landesanstalt (Royal Prussian Geological Institute).
Items from the Proterozoic period are mainly Stromatolites from China and Australia. The Devonian is well covered by material from the Rhenish Massif, while the Das Carboniferous is represented through material from Silesia, the Saar and the Ruhr Carboniferous, as well as extensive material from North America.
The items collected in Thuringia from the Permian (Rotliegend) are significant. The collection is not only of scientific, but also of cultural interest. 66 percent of the collected items recorded in an 1836 catalogue still exist. They include the collections by Ernst Friedrich Freiherr von Schlotheim, one of the two founders of scientific palaeobotanics. There is also Forstrat Heinrich Cotta's petrified wood collection, including all the type material relating to the first study on structure-providing plant material by his son, Bernhard von Cotta (1832).
Wealth of Types
The more or less continuous research of excellent scientists such as Ch. E. Weiß, H. Potonié, W. Gothan and W. Remy provided the collection with a wealth of types and originals. The collection is held in high esteem by scientists from the Czech Republic, France, the U.K. and the USA. Research stays for visiting scientists are funded by the EU exchange programme Synthesys.