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The World of Northern Evergreens$
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E. C. Pielou

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801477409

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801477409.001.0001

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Two Kinds of Trees: Conifers and Broadleafs

Two Kinds of Trees: Conifers and Broadleafs

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 6 Two Kinds of Trees: Conifers and Broadleafs
Source:
The World of Northern Evergreens
Author(s):

E. C. Pielou

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801477409.003.0006

This chapter considers the contrast between the two kinds of tree. Not all conifers are evergreen, and not all broadleafs are deciduous. The differences between them are profound, so much so that it is ludicrous, nowadays, to lump them collectively as “trees.” The greatest contrast between conifers and broadleafs is in their reproductive systems. In conifers, the ovule in a cone is naked in the sense that the pollen tube has direct access to it; in broadleafs, the ovule in a flower is inside a carpel, a soft outer covering that the pollen tube has to penetrate to reach the integument and ovule. Conifers have longer life spans and longer “decay spans” than broadleafs. The trunk of a conifer grows straight up without dividing. Broadleafs are sometimes shaped like conifers, but very often their trunks divide, their branches grow to be almost as thick as the trunk divisions, and the crown of the tree becomes rounded.

Keywords:   conifers, broadleafs, coniferous trees, cones, flowers, ovules, reproductive systems

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