Lycophytes, comprising the groups historically known as the lycopsids and zosterophylls, have the longest history of any group of vascular land plants. The early evolution of the group is reviewed concentrating on the Late Silurian and Devonian record of Lycopsida and Zosterophyllopsida. Distinct root-like and shoot-like axes in zosterophyllopsids and lycopsids are first recorded in the Early Devonian and can be compared to the later development of pseudobipolar growth of tree-shaped lycopsids with upward-growing trunks and branch systems and downward-growing rooting systems. The development of stigmarian rootlets postdates the evolution of pseudobipolar growth, first recorded in the Middle Devonian, according to current evidence. Other important events in early lycophyte evolution during the Devonian include changes in leaf morphology, modification of sporophylls, and the eventual appearance of the lycopsid strobili.