The global pattern of plant evolution through the Permian–Triassic mass extinction is uncertain, and the extent to which land plants were affected is debated. Detailed studies undertaken at a regional scale can help evaluate this floral transition, and thus we provide a detailed account of floral evolution from the Permian to Middle Triassic of North China based on new paleobotanical data and a refined biostratigraphy. Five floral transition events are identified from before, during, and after the Permian–Triassic crisis, including the disappearance of the gigantopterid flora (associated with loss of coal deposits), the end-Permian mass extinction of Paleophytic taxa, and gradual recovery in the Triassic with the stepwise appearance of the Mesophytic vegetation. The record begins with a Cisuralian gigantopterid-dominated rainforest community, and then a Lopingian walchian Voltziales conifer-ginkgophyte community that evolved into a voltzialean conifer-pteridosperm forest community. The last is associated with a change amongst terrestrial vertebrates from the Jiyuan fauna to a pareiasaur-dominated fauna, found in red beds that lack coal deposits due to arid conditions. The disappearance of the voltzialean conifer forest community may represent the end-Permian mass extinction of plants although it could also be a consequence of the non-preservation of plants in sedimentary red-beds. The first post-crisis plants are an Induan herbaceous lycopsid community, succeeded by the Pleuromeia-Neocalamites shrub marsh community. A pteridosperm shrub woodland community dominated for a short time in the late Early Triassic along with the reappearance of insect herbivory. Finally, in the Middle Triassic, gymnosperm forest communities gradually rose to dominance in both uplands and lowlands along with other diverse plant communities, indicating the establishment of the Mesophytic Flora.

You do not have access to this content, please speak to your institutional administrator if you feel you should have access.