The Department of Palaeobotany IB PAS is the largest palaeobotanical research centre in the country. Its founder and first director prof. Władysław Szafer (1953-1960) has given the research conducted in the Department a character of a very wide range, that have not been studied in other palaeobotanical centres, which included ”classic” palaeobotany of Palaeophytic and Mesophytic eras and studies on the Tertiary and Quaternary, comprising pre- and early-historical period.
Appreciating the importance of the original fossil collections, which are the basis of palaecological inference, already in 1953 prof. Władysław Szafer created the Palaeobotanical Museum within the Department.
Since 2012, Dr. hab. Agnieszka Wacnik became the Head of the Department.
In 1960, the first issue of magazine Acta Palaeobotanica appeared, initially edited by W. Szafer, then by A. Środoń, and currently by L. Stuchlik. It is an international publishing house that is the only journal in the Central and Eastern Europe which publishes articles from all of the palaeobotanical branches.
BRIEF HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT
1953 – the establishment of the Department of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, with Palaeobotanical Section. Prof. Władysław Szafer becomes the head of the Section
1956 – changing Palaeobotanical Section into Department of Palaeobotany
1958 – separation of two sections: Section of Tertiaty and Older Floras (head of the Section – prof. Władysław Szafer), as well as Section of Quaternary Floras (head of the Section – prof. Andrzej Środoń)
1961 – fusion of the sections in the Department of Paleobotany headed by prof. Andrzej Środoń
1979 – prof. Krystyna Wasylikowa becomes the head of the Department
1982 – prof. Leon Stuchlik becomes the head of the Department
2001 – prof. Ewa Zastawniak-Birkenmajer becomes the head of the Department
2012 – dr. Agnieszka Wacnik takes over duties of the head of the Department
2013 - dr. hab. Agnieszka Wacnik becomes the head of the Department