Conifers are a common plant which can be found across the globe. Characterized by their unusual needle-like “leaves” and cones, conifers are easy to identify. If you were to take a quick glance into a wooded area, you would most likely see various conifers, which have also survived the Jurassic period.
Conifers can be identified by one of their three different leaf structures. The Pinaceae family which includes pine, spruce and fir trees grow needle-like leaves, while conifers of the Cupressaceae family (such as junipers and arborvitaes) grow scale-like leaves. Lastly the Taxaceae family has a flat, feather-like leaf structure.
A Conifer’s Cones
The word “conifer” means cone bearing. Within a conifer’s cones lies the secret for conifer reproduction.
While other plants produce flowers, conifers produce cones. A single conifer produces both the male and female cones necessary for reproduction. Male cones produce pollen while female cones contain seeds necessary for reproduction hidden between the female cone’s scales.