Leaves of the gymnosperms

needle.gif (10057 bytes)Pines, cedars, spruces and yellowwoods, which belong to the group Coniferophyta or the conifers, are the largest group of  gymnosperms  (naked-seeded plants) and have various leaf types.  Pine trees (family Pinaceae) have needle-like leaves which are grouped together in fascicles and grow from a short branch which grow no longer than one node. The cypresses and junipers (family Cupressaceae) have very small scale-like leaves which are crowded along the stem. The yellowwoods (Podocarpaceae) have small narrow leaves which are borne singly. The leaves of the Ginkgo or Maidenhair tree (the only surviving species of  the group Ginkgophyta) are interesting in that they have dichotomous venation, in other words each vein divides into two near the leaf margin.

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A juniper twig covered with very small scale-like leaves A ginkgo leaf showing the dichotomous venation.


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