Conifers are any trees that have vascular tissue and are cone bearing. Some examples of conifers include cedars, cypress, spruces and firs. Conifers usually grow in cooler climates. They do not flower and thus most of them reproduce via cone bearing. Conifers do not shed their own leaves and therefore they keep their foliage throughout the year.
In this article, I will be sharing about the various examples of conifers and its species. I will also share how these conifers can be use in your eco-friendly lifestyle.
Cedars usually grow in the Mediterranean, at the altitudes of 1000-2200m and in the Himalayas at the altitude of 1500-3000m. Cedars can grow up to 30-40m tall. Its needle-like leaves can grow to about 8-60mm long. They are arranged in spiral groups of 15-45 and are characterized by a thick white wax layer that protects it from drying.
Cedar’s seed cones are 6-12cm long with a breadth of 3-8cm while the seeds are 10-15 mm in length and 20-30mm wide. The seeds also have 2-3 resin blisters, which is used for self-defense against predators. Seed cones usually mature within one year after pollination takes place in autumn.
Species of Cedars
There are four major species of cedar. These are:
- Atlas cedar
- Lebanon cedar
- Cyprus cedar
- Deodar cedar
Atlas cedar are found mainly in Algeria and in Atlas mountains of Morocco. Their leaves are 10-25 mm long, which are either dark green or blue green. Cyprus cedar are found in mountains of Cyprus. Cedar trees are easily identifiable by their glaucous blue-green leaves. The leaves can grow to about 8-20 mm long.
Lebanon cedar are native in the Mediterranean region, Turkey and mountains in the near East. Their cones usually have smooth scales. Deodar cedar are found mainly in Western Himalaya. The leaves are 25-60 mm long while the cones have quite ridged scales.
Uses of Cedars
Cedar wood and oil are natural eco-friendly moth repellant and thus are used in lining closets. Cedars are also used in horticulture particularly in the temperate climates. Cedar trees are mostly used in a sustainable garden as bonsai because they are easily manipulated into different styles. Cedars are also used for many other things because they absorb moisture and are natural deodorants.
Cypress are species of the evergreen conifers that are found in the warm-temperate regions of Asia, Europe, and in North America. Cypress trees are mostly 80 feet tall and when they are young, usually have a pyramidal shape. There are different types of cypress that live in various climates. Leyland cypress for example grows best in USDA regions 6 to 10. While bald cypress and pony cypress grow in USDA regions 4 to 10.
Pond cypress and bald cypress require ample amounts of water during dry weather. They are false cypress unlike Italian and mourning surprise that require moderate amounts because they are true cypress. Most of the cypresses do not endure intense frost.
Species of Cypress
- Leyland cypress
- Mediterranean cypress
- Monterey cypress
- Arizona cypress
- Bald cypress
- African cypress
- Summer cypress
- Cordilleran cypress
- Siberian cypress
Uses of Cypress
Many species of the cypress are grown for decorations probably in parks. Other species are grown for timber as they are durable. Leyland cypress is used as Christmas tree, building materials, and to make furniture. Mourning and Italian cypresses are used as indicators of death in some cultures.
Firs are large coniferous trees that grow to a height of between 10-80m tall and a diameter of 0.5-4m. The leaves usually have whitish lines on the bottom; each covered by waxed stomata bands. The upper surfaces are green and shiny some with stomata and others with. Some species have their upper surfaces dull, which are wax coated with various stomatal bands.
The leaves’ tips are more or less serrated, and sometimes dull or rounded or even prickly and sharp. The spread from the shoots is usually diverse, for some species are comb-shaped or even flat. There are many ways to identify the different Firs species. Some of the ways are:
- arrangement and size of leaves
- shape and size of cones
- size of the scales of cones
Mature cones are brown and green during the summer when young.
Firs are unsuitable for timber use and is used as pulp for the production of plywood or rough timber. Due to its lack of decay and insect resistance, it is recommended for construction of only indoor structures. When these woods are left outside, they do not last long varying from the climate types.
Uses of Firs
Korean fir and Fraser fir, which have brightly colored cones when young are used as decorative garden trees. Nordmann fir, Fraser fir, Balsam fir and Noble fir are used as Christmas trees. This is because they do not lose many needles when they dry due to their aromatic foliage. Firs are also food plants for caterpillars.
Abies Religiosa, which is a sacred fir, hosts the monarch butterfly during the winter. Abies Spectabilis, which is also known as Talispatra, is used as a cough suppressant in the Ayurveda (Traditional Hindu medicine).
Conclusion for the various examples of conifers
There are many examples of conifers in different parts of the world. These conifers vary from the climatic conditions they grow. Their characteristics change from one region to the other. They also have different eco-friendly uses to humans and even animals. Their advantages are more than the disadvantages, conifers should be well taken care of to minimize the dangers which affect them.