Conifers: meaning, varieties and fruits

Conifers: meaning, varieties and fruits

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Conifers are evergreen plants which grow especially in geographic areas characterized by a mild or temperate climate. In these areas, conifers develop at varying altitudes, starting from the maritime area up to the maximum limit allowed for vegetation. This type of plants, on the other hand, does not find widespread in tropical regions, where the climatic conditions suitable for their growth are not found.

Plants like the Conifers belong to the Conifer family firs, i pines, i larches, the cypresses and the sequoias, which spontaneously constitute large forest areas. They can also be found in parks and gardens for ornamental purposes.

Conifers: meaning

The term "Conifere" literally means "bearers of cones" or strobiles, commonly known as "pine cones". It is an order of arboreal plants, characterized by an erect and very branched stem as well as by needle-like or scaly leaves. There are also some shrub forms, such as juniper and mountain pine.

Their origins are very ancient. Conifers presumably appeared in the Carboniferous or Devonian, but developed from the Permian on. From the Triassic period and for a good part of Jurassic, Conifers constituted the dominant fraction of the flora of the northern hemisphere. Not surprisingly, this part of the Mesozoic Era is also known as the Era of Conifers.

Starting from the upper Jurassic, the Conifers underwent a process of evolution, with the appearance of Cupressaceae, of the Pinaceae, of the Podocarpacee and subsequently of other families, which already showed characteristics very similar to the current specimens.

Coniferous forest

Different geographic areas of the planet are dominated by the presence of Coniferous trees. These places are characterized by particular climatic conditions with low rainfall, short growing seasons or humidity levels limited by the presence of sandy soils. In similar contexts, plants reduce water loss thus developing thin, needle-like and evergreen leaves.

The Nordic Coniferous Forest, also known as boreal forest or taiga, for example, is made up of mixed forests of conifers and deciduous trees, extending over a large strip of the world between 45 ° and 60 ° north latitude. Among the dominant species of conifers that characterize this area can be included firs, cedars, pines and larches. In terms of fauna, the taiga is populated by species such as the brown bear, the elk, the owl but also the lynx and the weasel.

Another type of coniferous forest is the southern pine forest, characterized by sandy soils and a humid climate. Currently, it is used extensively to obtain wood and resinous products.

In the most humid geographical areas, the Coniferous forest can take the form of temperate rain forest. In this case we are dealing with ecosystems with a rainy climate and often immersed in fog. In this type of forest, the ground, tree branches as well as old stumps appear generally covered with ferns, mosses and lichens.

Conifer plant

Over six hundred species of plants belong to the class of Conifers. Their main feature is given by the type of leaves that, in addition to being needle-like, are not transient in the vast majority of specimens. Another characteristic that unites this botanical class is represented by the abundance of resins and aromatic essences, usually produced in canals present on plants, not surprisingly defined as resiniferous. They also perform a protective function towards conifers.

These plants can reach sizes as well as a longevity that are difficult to find in others plant species. As an example, just think that the sequoias can easily reach over one hundred meters in height. Some of these plants are also estimated to be at least 1,500 years old.

Dwarf conifer

Dwarf conifers are the ideal plants for making pots capable of keeping their beauty intact even in the coldest months. In addition to being evergreen, the Dwarf conifers they are easy to care for and are characterized by a long service life. Typically, their height varies from twenty to forty-fifty centimeters.

Although they do not produce flowers, their aesthetic appearance is remarkable. As a further advantage, it should be remembered that it is possible to combine different species of dwarf conifers in the same compositions, in order to make the vases even more suggestive on the decorative front. Among the most common species are firs, junipers, pines and cypresses.

Conifer from coasts

As the name suggests, the Coastal Conifer is a variety of Conifer typical of coastal areas. The Maritime pine (Pinus pinaster), a plant that is widespread along the coasts of the entire Mediterranean, starting from France, passing through Italy and Spain, up to Greece. The maritime pine usually reaches twenty meters, but can also reach a height of thirty meters. Due to its characteristics of resistance and adaptability, this Conifer is widely used for the reforestation of the coasts. Equally frequent is its use for the production of resin, which is subsequently exploited in herbal and pharmacological preparations.

Cypress Conifer

The cypress is a conifer with a great development, easily recognizable by its columnar or conical shape. It develops mainly in Turkey, Iran and Cyprus but also in some regions of America. In Roman times this variety of conifer found spread also in the Mediterranean areas. There are over a hundred types of cypress. A distinctive feature of this conifer is the scent emanating from its wood, which makes the plant very pleasant to the nose.

Garden conifers

There are several characteristics that make Conifers ideal plants for use in gardens. First, you can think of their beautiful bearing. From the ornamental point of view, the persistence of the foliage, the coloring of the needles and the fragrance linked to the resinous essences characteristic of this botanical class should not be forgotten.

The moment you decide to planting Conifers in a garden, it is advisable to pay attention to the chosen species, thus taking into account aspects such as adaptability and size. For proper development, many types of Conifers in fact require vital spaces of a certain importance in relation to both other plants and the possible presence of buildings. It is also advisable to carefully evaluate the type of soil in which the Conifers will be grown.

In gardens, the use of the genus Thuja as a hedge is quite frequent, due to the plant's considerable tolerance to pruning.

Fruit of Conifers

What is called the fruit of Conifers is actually not a fruit in the literal sense of the term, given the lack of the pistil. This plant formation is indicated by the terms "Strobilo" or "cone" or, more commonly, "pine cone".

Distinguished by a woody structure, the pine cones are linked to a long symbolic tradition, with multiple meanings. In some cultures, pine cones are, for example, combined with the concept of eternity and immortality, in association with the tree of life. Among the various symbolisms, pine cones can also be an emblem of fertility and abundance.

Conifer pellets

Conifer pellets are one of the many varieties of pellets available on the market. In terms of conifers, the pellet industry uses pines and firs in particular.

Compared to beech - another type of plant widely used to make pellets - the product obtained with conifers has a slightly lower yield. However, consumption is lower and there is less ash residue.



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