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Conifer Structures - Plants Slideshow

Special structures of conifer species

Let's take a look at some special structures of conifers. With over 600 living species, they have developed a wide variety of structures. What do they share in common? They all have cones of one type or another. Those cones are used in reproduction. As you study conifers, you will find species with male and female cones. Male cones release pollen into the air. As female cones are pollinated, they develop seeds that can then be released. Open pinecones fall to the ground after the seeds are released.

The image above shows two different types of cone structures. They both develop seeds and often open when the temperature increases in late summer. Each cone can hold a few or several dozen seeds. Even the seed sizes for each species are different. Sequoias may be the largest living trees, but they have much smaller seeds than pine trees.

The center image shows a close look at some new waxy needles from a pine. They are branching out from one of the male reproductive structures in mid-spring. If you visit boreal forests in spring, you will probably wind up covered in the yellow pollen released from these structures. The needle structures allow the plants to stay green year-round, even in very cold winter months.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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