SeedPlants213-page11 - 4500 – 5000 years old and Norway...

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Seed-Dispersing Plants - 11 Coniferophyta The Conifers are given their name because the female strobilus is usually a hardened structure called a cone. Conifers are the dominant vegetation of the Taiga biome, also called the cold coniferous forests. Much of Washington state is in the Taiga biome. Taiga is characterized by heavy winter snowpack and short, moderately cool, dry summers. The xeromorphic needles resist both cold and drought and the overall pyramidal shape of most conifers sheds snow, increasing the snow pack around the tree bases. The habit and needles are also more resistant to wind and storm damage, although intense windstorms can uproot even large conifers. We have a great diversity of native conifers in our state, most of which can be recognized by distinctive needle and cone structures. Conifers have many "claims" to fame: Major source of paper and lumber -- Commercial value Among the oldest known living eukaryotic organisms (Bristlecone Pines are
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Unformatted text preview: 4500 – 5000 years old and Norway Spruces in Sweden and Huon pines in Tasmania are reported to be 9000 – 10,000 years old) • Largest known "single body" living organisms (Giant Redwoods). • Tallest known living organism (Coast RedwoodS) Bristlecone Pine Giant Sequoia It should be noted that clones of aspen and a several fungi have more volume than a giant redwood tree, but they are a collection of connected individuals, not a single trunk. Vegetative Features of the conifers Conifers are woody trees or shrubs with cambium (meristem for secondary growth) and indeterminate growth. The leaves are either tough needles or scale-like. The xylem contains tracheids but no vessels. Resin canals are found in stems and leaves. Most are evergreen. A few notable exceptions are the larches, dawn redwood and bald cypress....
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