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lycophyte

[ līkə-fīt′ ]
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Any of various seedless vascular plants belonging to the phylum Lycophyta and characterized by microphylls (primitive leaves found in ancient plants). Among lycophytes, the sporophyte is the dominant generation (the large plant). Lycophytes first appeared in the Devonian period, and lycophyte trees were abundant in the ancient forests of the Carboniferous period. Modern lycophytes include such plants as the club mosses and the resurrection plant (Selaginella lepidophylla).

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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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