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Identify a conifer tree

Conifers are collectively referred to as softwoods, and botanists classify them as gymnosperms. The word gymnosperm, from the Greek gymnos (naked) and sperma (seed), means "naked seed". This refers to the fact that conifer seeds are not contained in fruit tissue like apple seeds are, for example. Instead, the seeds are borne on scales, which are grouped together to form cones, hence the name conifer, or cone bearing. Conifers generally have persistent foliage consisting of needles or scales. However, as with any biological classification, exceptions do exist.

This identification key organizes trees into artificial groupings based on leaf shape and arrangement along the twig and it is intended to make identification in the field easier.

Note: We are working to improve this key; we welcome your comments.

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