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Conifer Trees for Kids

All About Conifer Trees (Coniferous)

Did you know that there are different types of trees? And they all have different names?

There are deciduous trees and coniferous trees. Today, we’re going to learn all about coniferous trees! Most people think of those traditional Christmas trees when they hear the word “conifer,” but there are many different kinds of conifers. 

You might be asking yourself a lot of questions by now: What are conifer trees? What do coniferous trees look like? How can you tell them apart from deciduous types of trees? Keep reading to find out! Conifer trees for kids!

What are Conifers?

Conifers are trees and shrubs that produce cones. Conifers are the most common type of tree, with more than 300 species growing in different climates. The most well-known type is the Pine tree, with its soft brown needles that it sheds each year to make room for new green ones! Other common coniferous trees include Cedars, Cypresses, Firs, and Junipers.

What do Conifers look like?

Conifers come in all different shapes and sizes. Some grow very low to the ground, and others are very tall and sway in the winds. They have woody trunks and branches. They can have needles shaped like pins, but some needle types look like small scales or grow in a wedge-like shape. Their needles are covered in a waxy substance that helps prevent water loss when it’s hot out. This is why many coniferous trees look well cared for and green even in the middle of the summer when they usually don’t get as much water. 

Where do Conifers Grow?

Conifers are a diverse group of plants that can be found all over the world. They grow in cool regions like Europe, Asia, and North America to warmer regions such as Australia and Africa! The ancient people of Earth used coniferous trees to build their ships and make longbows. Today, we use the same wood for houses and furniture!

Conifer Cones and Germination

Instead of fruit or flowers, coniferous trees grow two different types of cones. The first is the seed cone (female cone), and the second is the pollen cone (male cone). Cones act a little similar to flowers that attract insects with pollen; however, instead of being brightly colored, cones are usually greenish brown-colored. 

Strong winds can carry the pollen found in the male pollen cone before finding a female seed cone. Once the pollen finds the female cone, the seed slowly develops underneath the female cone’s brown scales. When the seed is finally ready, the scales on the female seed cone will slowly open up, and the seed will fall out. Next, wind, flowing water, or animals can carry the seeds for long distances before dropping them to their new homes. Finally, germination, which is when the seed begins to grow, begins. This funny transportation method gives conifer seeds an advantage over other vegetation types as they can grow far from where the female seed cone first dropped them!

Are all Conifers Evergreen?

Most coniferous are ‘evergreen’ as they keep their pines year-round. 

But watch out! Even though most conifers are ‘evergreen’, there is one exception. Larches are conifer trees as they grow needles and cones but are not evergreen. After turning bright red, their needles turn golden and drop off the branches every autumn. 

Fun Fact: There are also some deciduous species like the Larix laricina (Norwegian wood) that are evergreen. 

Pretty cool, right?

Now you know all about coniferous trees! If you want to learn more about forests and trees, just keep exploring Elapen’s blog posts, check out some of our cool DIY projects, or play some online games. Whatever you decide, get ready to go on an amazing educational adventure! 

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