Definition - What does Gymnosperm mean?
Gymnosperms refer to vascular plants that produce unprotected seeds, such as conifers. These plants are usually flowerless and the seeds are not encased within an ovary. In gymnosperms, the seeds are exposed right on the plant’s bracts. Because these plants can easily tolerate dry and humid conditions, they are usually found in boreal and temperate forests.
MaximumYield explains Gymnosperm
Popular gymnosperms include ginkgos, firs, spruces and pines. According to botanists, these plants first appeared during over 245 million years ago, during the Triassic Period. Gymnosperms are classified into four main categories:
- Gnetophyta: Some types of gnetophytas such as the Ephedra shrubs usually grow in the Himalayan mountain ranges. This type of gymnosperm have medicinal properties and can be found in some decongestant drugs.
- Ginkgophyta: The only surviving plant of this particular division of gymnosperms is the Ginkgo Biloba. These plants can only be found in China and are characterized by their deciduous, fan-like leaves that adopt a yellowish hue in autumn.
- Cycadophyta: Found in sub-tropical and tropical regions, the cycadophyta division of gymnosperms mainly include cycads which display longer stems and feather-like leaves, not unlike palm trees. Cycadophytas have a fairly slow growth process and rely on animals, as well as insects for the dispersal and pollination of their seeds.
- Coniferophyta: The majority of coniferophytas are evergreens, such as spruces, hemlocks, firs, sequoias and pines. These plants are usually distinguished by their scaly, flat or needle-like leaves. Gymnosperm coniferophytas are also very resistant to colder climates.