Close up a fossilized leaf

Paleobotany Collections

Compression, impression, petrified, and permineralized specimens from Precambrian to Pleistocene stratigraphic horizons and from various localities around the world.

Collection Search

The KU Paleobotany collection is known for Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic fossils from Antarctica (Antarctic Collection), and is the largest collection of Antarctic fossil plants in the world. Additional material includes Pennsylvanian, Permian, and Cretaceous compression-impression specimens from several localities in eastern and central Kansas and coal balls from the Midcontinent, USA.

The Division of Paleobotany was instituted in 1995 when Edith L. Taylor and Thomas N. Taylor moved to the University of Kansas, bringing their extensive collection of fossil plants with them, though the study of paleobotany and the first collected specimens at KU date back to 1888.  The Taylor Collection and the Baxter Collection of mostly Kansas coal balls formed the core of the KU Paleobotany collection, but we have acquired other so-called orphaned collections, including portions of the collections of Ted Delevoryas (Triassic of North Carolina; Jurassic of Mexico), Lawrence C. Matten (Devonian of Ireland), Gar W. Rothwell (early seed plants) and Gene Mapes (Pennsylvanian of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas).

Loan Policies & Collections Access

Requests to borrow specific specimens for research or exhibition should be addressed in writing to the curators or collections manager. Requests should include the following information. Please review our full Loan Policies and Collections Access information for full details. 

  • Purpose of the loan
  • Description of material requested
  • Where and under whose responsibility the specimens will be housed while on load
  • Anticipated time period of the loan

Collection Highlights

silicified trunk growing in-situ in the Triassic Fremouw Formation at Gordon Valley, in the central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica.

Gymnosperm Stems

Anatomically preserved gymnosperm trunks are relatively abundant in several Triassic localities of Antarctica, but their anatomy has rarely been studied in detail, which limits comparison with other Gondwanan plants.
Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica

Permineralized Cherts

Collecting permineralized cherts from the Triassic Fremouw Peak Locality, central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica and some sections of permineralized plants.