Land Plants



Algae



The earliest land plants developed from their ocean cousins, the algae. Early sea algae splashed ashore and eventually developed waxy skins to maintain moisture on land. They reproduced asexually by simple cell division. These plants grew in moist coastal areas but did not colonize far inland.




Mosses

From these beginnings, simple mosses evolved which reproduced sexually, requiring two cells to meet. These plants developed rigid cell walls which allowed them to stand vertically and conduce water up their stems. These mosses were very adaptable and spread inland creating vast micro-forests only a few centimeters tall. These areas with tangled, dense growth became the home and food source for Disco's first primitive land animals.





Diversification and Evolution



As eons passed and mosses spread to drier regions, root structures developed to allow access to underground moisture. Ferns and horsetails evolved and as the ground became crowded with growth, competition began for the sun's precious rays, without which none of these plants could manufacture food. Plants began reaching for the sky to overcome the shade of surrounding growth. Disco's ample equatorial rainfall and low gravitational pull resulted in rapid growth and astounding heights. Many fern trees grew to 50 meters and giant horsetails achieved heights of 100 meters with only a 20 centimeter trunk diameter.





Reproduction



Plant reproduction became exclusively sexual on Disco. Flower production evolved to help attract pollinators. Huge swarms of flying insects became prolific fertilizers. Cross-pollinated plants grew in vast numbers and eventually overwhelmed the more primitive asexual spore producers. Over several million years plants lost the capacity to self-fertilize and ancient plant forms began to die out.




Forests





Tropical forests now cover much of Disco's equatorial region with conifer forests growing at the more extreme latitudes. Disco's forests are known for exceptionally tall, slender trees as a result of favorable growing conditions and a gravitational pull approximately one-half of earth's.







1998 Martin Briner - email:mbriner@aol.com