Pollen and spores are microscopic products of plants, between 5 and 100 micron in size. Pollen fulfils the male role in the reproduction cycle of plants. Spores are self-reproducing bodies produced by plants that do not flower, for example, ferns and mosses.

Pollen and spores can be dispersed by wind, water, insects and larger animals. At the analysis stage, the pollen analyst does not only look at pollen and spores, but also a variety of other micro-fossils, from plant fungae to endoparasites. All these micro-fossils are collectively called palynomorphs