The fossil of Pitys withamii was found at Craigleith Quarry between 1835 and 1865, where it would have formed part of the swamp forests which occurred in this area 320-340 million years ago. This particular fossil is the largest plant fossil in Scotland at 10.5m in length. The stone of the two palmhouses which sit behind this courtyard are also made of stone quarried at Craigleith.
We also have a fossilised root of Lepidodendron, which is just behind the Pitys withamii fossil. You can see living relatives of this plant, the trailing clubmosses, growing around Scotland, although they are now much smaller than the 45m this tree could have reached.
Along side these fossils we have several trees which are ‘living fossils’, such as the maidenhair tree, Ginkgo biloba, and the dawn redwood, Metasquoia glyptosproboides.