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Baron Achille de Zigno (1813–1892) of Padua published dozens of articles on the early Mesozoic floras from the Venetia region of Italy. His magna opera, however, were the two volumes of the Flora fossilis formationis oolithicae (Volume 1 (1856–1867) and Volume 2 (1873–1885), Padua University Press, Padua). In these he aimed to put the Venetian Jurassic plants in context with what were then considered oolitic floras from around the world. Like many of his contemporaries, his research has been revised both taxonomically and stratigraphically, so that the fossil plants he described from the calcari grigi are now regarded as older than Middle Jurassic. His collection of over 3000 specimens of Italian fossil plants, now kept in the University of Padua, continued to attract researchers during the 20th century from across Europe who used light microscopy to investigate them. Today electron microscopy is being applied to Baron Zigno’s specimens that are of importance not only as representatives of a rare Middle Liassic flora but also of value in the palaeobiogeography of the Tethys area in Lower Jurassic times.

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