Fossil wood is subject to different taphonomic, sampling and recognition biases in the palaeobotanical record when compared with leaves and palynomorphs. Wood therefore provides a systematically independent source of information that can increase our knowledge of past biodiversity and environments. Increase in fossil wood records from Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments helps further the understanding of trends in anatomical specialization through geological time. These data can then be used to distinguish such specialization from anatomical response to environmental change. Two case studies, a Late Cretaceous early Tertian’ wood flora from Antarctica and a lower Tertiary w ood flora from southern England, have been used to exemplify the importance of studying the fossil wood component of palaeofloras.