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What is the name of this beautiful white trees?

What is the name of this beautiful white trees?



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I found this beautiful white trees in an unknown video.


If you do a Google Image search with the picture in the question, you'll see the screenshot is from the 2000 movie The Patriot starring Mel Gibson. The movie's filming locations were mainly scattered around South Carolina, on the southern East Coast of the United States. I've spent a lot of time in the region, and the gray-ish fluffy stuff hanging off the branches is almost certainly Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), which is very common in the area.

While it is more difficult to identify the tree, as the bark and leaves are not clearly visible up close, a good educated guess based on the size and shape of the tree would be live oak (Quercus virginiana), which also happens to be one of the primary hosts of Spanish moss.


What's That Smell? The Beautiful Tree That's Causing Quite A Stink

Callery pear trees in Pittsburgh. The smell of the invasive trees has been compared to rotting fish and other stinky things.

It's springtime in Pittsburgh, and throughout the city, Callery pear trees are sprouting beautiful, white blossoms.

But that's just the problem. Simply put, these trees stink.

"This whole place smells like dead fish," says Sheila Titus. "I mean everywhere. Everywhere you see one of these trees with the white on them."

Titus has lived in her home in the now-hip neighborhood of Lawrenceville for 49 years. Two decades ago, her grandson and his 7th grade class planted a row of Callery pears across the street from her house.

Callery pear blossoms. Charles A. Tilford/Flickr hide caption

"They told us they were putting nice trees up with flowers on them, and they come up with this stinkin' stuff comin' out of them," she says. "Oh God, it was terrible."

Mike Dirr, a professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia and an expert on woody plants, says at first, he advocated for the tree.

"We thought, 'Gee, this is a panacea,' " Dirr says. "You can stick it into any planting space in an urban situation, in concrete-heavy soils, clay soils, limestoney soils, acid soils, and it's gonna grow."

Native to China and Vietnam, the Callery, or Bradford pear, became the street tree of choice for American cities beginning in the 1950s. The beautiful, white flowering tree was disease-resistant and had the ability to grow in diverse climates and soil types.

But, Dirr says, the Callery pear soon revealed its downsides: It stank, and new trees started sprouting up everywhere, crowding out native species.

"I'm not a crazy, invasive-police kinda guy, but I can see the future and this tree is I think one of the biggest scourges we have," he says.

That's why the Callery pear is now prohibited by the Pittsburgh Urban Forest Master Plan, according to Matt Erb of the nonprofit group Tree Pittsburgh.


Eucalyptus Plants

All eucalyptus trees and shrubs belong to the genus Eucalyptus, which is in the myrtle family, or the Myrtaceae. The plants are native to Australia, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Most grow in Australia, which contains hundreds of species belonging to the genus. The trees are very popular and grow as introduced or cultivated plants in many parts of the world.

The rainbow eucalyptus (Eucalyptus deglupta) is native to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. It&aposs also known as the Indonesian gum tree and the Mindanao gum after the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Gum trees are a group of eucalyptus species with a smooth bark that is periodically shed.

The main component of a koala&aposs diet is eucalyptus leaves. Rumour says that koalas sleep so much due to the influence of the leaves&apos oil in their diet. In reality, the digestion of the leaves requires a lot of energy and provides limited nutrition. By sleeping up to twenty hours a day, koalas reduce their energy expenditure.

Rainbow eucalyptus trees differ in the amount and types of colour that they display, but they are all beautiful.


Bible study: The purpose and meaning of trees

Very early on in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, we find that trees are mentioned. Not just one variety of tree, but various kinds.

They are not mentioned just for their beauty, but because each gave fruit with seeds in it. They were given for us to use. This shows God&rsquos generosity to us in abundance and variety. Some seeds produced oil that could be used for cooking and lighting, medicinal purposes, and for beauty treatments. Fruit and seeds provided food. We can add to this list: shade, wind breaks, habitats for animals, building and construction materials, sweet perfumed trees and incense. And God saw that it was good!

Read Genesis 1:29-30.

God gave seed-bearing plants and trees to us for our use, and for food for animals.

God made the trees with seed-bearing fruit. He gave us the possibility to increase their number by planting the seeds. We needed to learn to do this to continue receiving their benefits.

In Genesis 2:8-9, we see that God planted a garden, and in Genesis 2:15, he gave Adam the responsibility to tend it &ndash which means to manage it properly. Adam was &lsquoto care for it&rsquo. Trees need caring for so that they bear fruit and benefit mankind, contributing to our overall welfare. With our care, trees could greatly help to reduce global poverty.

In Genesis 2:16-17, God gave both man and woman his first command, and it referred to the fruit of the tree, but they disobeyed.

We see in the gospels that Christ died on a tree for the forgiveness of our sins. We can start again.

In the Book of Revelation, at the other end of the Bible, we find more references to trees. We will have the right to eat of the tree of life (Revelation 2:7), if we overcome as the Spirit of God shows us. Trees are in the paradise of God.

In Revelation 22, we learn that the tree of life bears fruit crops 12 times a year, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. There are many trees with healing powers at our disposal now, which is a sign of God&rsquos provision for us.

  • What part do trees play in God&rsquos plan for people, for animals and for the world?
  • What different meanings do trees have in the Bible?

Chris Hawksbee works as a development consultant. He specialises in a number of subjects including forestry. He lives in Paraguay.


Angel's trumpet

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Angel’s trumpet, (genus Brugmansia), genus of seven species of small trees and shrubs in the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Angel’s trumpets are commonly grown as ornamentals in frost-free climates and in greenhouses, and several attractive hybrids have been developed. The plants are sometimes confused with the annual herbaceous plants of the related genus Datura.

Angel’s trumpets were once native to South America, but all species are now listed as extinct in the wild by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The species Brugmansia arborea, golden angel’s trumpet (B. aurea), B. insignis, red angel’s trumpet (B. sanguinea), B. versicolor, and B. vulcanicola were variously distributed in the Andes region of South America, ranging from Colombia to northern Chile. Angel’s tears (B. suaveolens) was native to the Atlantic coast of southeastern Brazil. Several species have become naturalized in various temperate and tropical locations around the world.

Angel’s trumpets are evergreen plants with many branching trunks and are typically less than 8 metres (26 feet) in height. The simple leaves can be toothed or entire and are alternately arranged along the stems. The large pendulous flowers have a fused trumpet-shaped corolla and can be white, cream, yellow, orange, red, pink, or greenish in colour. The flowers of some species can reach up to 50 cm (20 inches) in length. Most species are fragrant at night and attract moths for pollination, though the red angel’s trumpet lacks scent and is pollinated by hummingbirds.

All parts of angel’s trumpets are considered poisonous and contain the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the plants can cause disturbing hallucinations, paralysis, tachycardia, and memory loss and can be fatal. Various species were used both ritualistically and as herbal medicine by indigenous peoples and their shamans, particularly in the northern Andes.


Tree bark

What is bark?

Imagine for a moment you are wearing X-ray glasses and you can look just below the surface of a tree’s trunk. Here we see a layer of living tissue. Zooming in really close, this tissue is like a bundle of straws packed together. What we are seeing is the tree’s plumbing, conductive ‘pipes’ for transporting fluids. This tissue comes in two main forms.

The first layer we see is the phloem. Phloem is right below the surface bark and carries sugars from the leaves down to the rest of the tree. Further in is more ‘plumbing’ called the xylem or sapwood. These tubes carry water and minerals the opposite way, up to the leaves.

Sandwiched between these two layers is the cambium. The cambium’s job is to produce cells. On the inside it creates more xylem and on the outside it creates more phloem.

Xylem cells die quickly. They actually have to so they can fully play their role as pipes. After a while though, they become blocked and are replaced by newer xylem. This surrounds the old layer, which is why a tree’s girth expands each year. The blocked tubes become the tough heartwood of the tree. Heartwood gives the tree ‘backbone’ and is good at resisting rot and insect attack.

As phloem dies it is pressed outwards and becomes part of the bark. Many trees also have a cork cambium layer, outside the first one. Its job is to produce cork, which also forms a major part of bark.

So taking off our X-ray glasses, the main point is that everything outside the main cambium layer is the bark.

Bark as protection

The outer cork protects the tree from the elements – from scorching by the sun or drying by wind. It also helps to ward off fungal infection, insect attack, and the attention of hungry birds and mammals.

The bark of different trees has evolved to withstand the environment in which each species occurs. Scots pine bark offers protection from fire. In prehistoric times, wildfires would very occasionally sweep through areas of pine woodland. The thick, plated bark of Scots pines would help many of the older trees to survive.

The white bark of silver birch reflects sunlight and protects the tree from getting damaged by ultraviolet rays. Birch seeds can travel long distances and birch can easily find itself without the shelter of companions so this protection is important.

Many trees have chemicals within their bark that ward off fungi and insects. Scots pine has sticky resin and oak bark contains a lot of tannins, chemicals that taste off-putting and are also toxic in high doses.

Many trees including silver birch get rougher as they get older, which makes it harder for animals to damage the bark.

Bark as a habitat

Cracks in bark provide great habitat. The deep fissures and crevices in the bark of an old oak or Scots pine are a haven for many species of insects and spiders. These invertebrates attract birds such as treecreepers and crested tits.

Even after a tree has died, bark can be a home for all sorts of wildlife. Bats sometimes roost beneath loose bark and a multitude of invertebrates also live out their lives in this hidden world.

In the Caledonian Forest, some of the most obvious life on bark takes the form of lichens and small plants. Plants that live on trees, without actually causing them any harm, are called epiphytes. The texture of bark influences which epiphytes live upon it. In an old pinewood it is common to see many other plants such as blaeberry growing in the thick crevices of Scots pine bark.

The texture of bark, and thus the lichen communities, can change during the lifetime of a tree. Young hazel has fairly smooth bark, and so attracts lichens that prefer this texture, particularly the script lichens. (These lichens are distinguishable by the tiny ‘squiggles’ on their surface). Bark often gets rougher as the tree ages. It then becomes more suitable for other species, including the leafy, frogskin-like lungwort. The lichen community can also vary on different parts of the same tree. Aspen bark has smooth and rough areas, each supporting different species.

Chemistry can be as important as texture when it comes to bark as a habitat. Aspen bark is not as acidic as that of some other trees such as pine and birch. This means that it can support species of plants and lichen that might not otherwise be present in a pinewood. (Interestingly aspen can also photosynthesise through its bark!)

Food for wildlife

Bark does a great job of protecting the tree. Even so, there are some very determined creatures that are keen to get to the nutritious cambium, or the wood beneath it. Many mammals eat bark, and by looking at the height and details of the damage, we can find out what mammals are present in an area.

As their name suggests, bark beetles are among the insects that use bark. The larvae burrow down to get to the cambium and each beetle species makes distinctive galleries, or passages in the wood. They can then carry in fungal spores that the bark would usually repel, which is how Dutch elm disease is spread.

If bark is damaged around the circumference of the trunk, the tree is in real trouble. The phloem can no longer do its job of transporting sugars, and the tree may die. Voles often eat the bark at the base of young trees, killing young saplings. Deer also strip bark (as well as damaging it by ‘fraying’ their antlers on it to shed the velvet coating). The bark of trees including aspen and willow is an important food source for the European beaver.

While all this bark feeding can be destructive to individual trees, it is worth taking a step back. From an ecological perspective it shows how bark can support a wide range of different species. Also, when a tree is killed or harmed by bark damage, valuable dead wood habitat can be created for fungi, insects and many other organisms.

Bark’s main purpose is to protect the tree. But when we take a closer look we can see how every surface, nook and cranny in the woods can provide food and shelter for myriad living things. In this way bark also helps increase the biodiversity in a forest.

Sources and further reading

Brown, R.W., Lawrence, M.J. & Pope, J. (2004). Animals – Tracks, Trails and Signs. Hamlyn: London.

Mitchell, A. (1982). Trees of Britain and Northern Europe. Collins: London.

Steven, H.M. & Carlisle, A. (1959). The Native Pinewoods of Scotland. Oliver & Boyd: Edinburgh.

Street, L. & S. (2002) The importance of Aspens for lichen. In: Cosgrove, P & Amphlett, A. (eds.). The Biodiversity and Management of Aspen Woodlands: Proceedings of a one-day conference held in Kingussie, Scotland, on 25th May 2001. The Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan: Grantown-on Spey.


10 Amazon Rainforest Plants

1. Giant Water Lily, Victoria Amazonica

Giant water lilies are one of the more memorable plants you will find in the Amazon Rainforest. Named after Queen Victoria, the sheer size of the Victoria Amazonica water lilies is what sets them apart. They can grow up to 10 feet (or 3 meters) in diameter and can hold up to 60 pounds of weight. Victoria Amazonica lilies grow in the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve in Peru.

2. Rubber Tree, Hevea brasiliensis

The Rubber Tree has a notorious history. It is one of the most economically valued plants in the entire Amazon region. The sap of the tree is a source of latex that was used, and continues to be used for rubber manufacturing. This impressive plant was endemic to the Amazon Rainforest, however during the Rubber Boom era, the seeds of this plant were illegally smuggled into Southeast Asia (a region that has a similar tropical environment as the Amazon) resulting in the tree being propagated there.

3. Heliconia, Heliconia latispatha

The Heliconia flower, often called the Lobster Claw is one of the more common and colorful jungle plants found in the treetop canopy. The plant has a unique “claw” shape and bright color, making is easy to identify. Many insects and birds rely on the Heliconia plant for food, Hummingbirds in particular, often nest on this plant and in return act as its pollinators.

4. Cacao, Theobroma cacao

Tasting the raw cacao plant is a highlight of any trip to the Amazon rainforest. This plant is an Amazonian superfood and it also happens to be the base of everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, chocolate. The cacao fruit varies in size and color, but it typically starts off green when young, and turns into a reddish brown color once the pod is ready to be harvested. A fun fact about this plant is that its genus name is “Theobroma,” meaning “food for the gods.”

5. Passion flower, Passiflora edulis

Passion fruit juices and desserts are popular in Amazonian cuisine. While onboard the Delfin Amazon Cruises, guest can enjoy a sample of this tangy superfruit. The flower grows up high in the jungle canopy and its distinctive white and purple colors make it stand out from the lush green scenery. The Passion flower is one of the most beautiful flowers found in the jungle and it is often compared to the orchid.

6. Bromelia, Bromeliaceae

Bromelias grow from the ground of the Amazon Rainforest, they are easy to spot because of their bright colors. Similar to the passion fruit flower, the Bromelia flowers also produce fruit, the pineapple. A very interesting fact about bromelias is their way of storing water. Their leaves have adapted their shape to create a makeshift water tank and they can hold up to 7 liters of water. Unlike many other plants that are up high in the forest canopy, you can spot these quite easily while out on a jungle walk.

7. Coffee Plant, Coffea arabica

Growing up to 30 feet tall, the coffee plant thrives across the tropical forests in Peru, Brazil and Ecuador. They grow best under shade, making the jungle an ideal place for them to blossom. The little red berries may not look like coffee beans at first because it’s inside these berries that you can find the coffee bean. Those valuable little beans make the coffee plant one of the most needed and consumed plant in the world.

8. Monkey Brush Vines, Combretum rotundifolium

The Monkey Brush vine grows deep within the Amazon rainforest. It’s a bright red flower that opens up and looks like a bright brush. This flower grows on a parasitic vine that thrives when it attaches itself to other plants across the jungle canopy. When you spot these colorful flowers, be on the lookout for iguanas, as they often like to rest among the vines.

9. Kapok Tree, Ceiba pentandra

The Kopak tree goes by the name Ceiba and it’s one of the largest trees in the jungle that towers over the rainforest canopy. A diverse number of animal species live in the bark and nooks of this important tree. The kapok tree sheds all of its leaves during the the low-water season, allowing the tree’s seeds to get spread around the jungle. The wood of this tree is very light-weight, making it an ideal base for a river canoe for the locals.

10. Orchid, Orchidaceae

The orchid flower is one of the most exquisite and majestic flowers in the world. They are the largest family of plants, with over 25,000 species located around the world, and over 10,000 of them in the tropical jungle. Orchids bloom in almost every color of the rainbow and thrive best in humid and environments. They rely heavily on birds and insects to pollinate their flowers.

For more information about What Plants are in the Amazon Rainforest, please contact us. If you are interested in booking a Delfin Amazon Cruise, send us an inquiry, we’ll be happy to assist you.


Lord Of The Rings Baby Names For Boys:

1. Arod:

Arod is the name of the kindom of Rohan’s horse given to Legolas by Eomer to help them in their journey. It’s an Old English name meaning ‘swift’.

2. Banazir:

Banazir is the hobbit name of Samwise Gamgree. It sounds a lot like the Arabic name Benazir, but has an entirely different meaning. Banazir means ‘half wise’.

3. Aragorn:

Aragorn is the name of the human ranger who guides the first part of the Fellowship of the Ring. He is later revealed to be the true heir to the Gondor throne. Aragorn is better known by his nickname Strider, so you can pick whichever name you like.

4. Frodo:

Frodo is the hero of the Lord of the Rings. This simple shire hobbit is destined to do great things. The name Frodo is based on the English word ‘frod’, which means ‘wise by experience’.

5. Bilbo:

Bilbo is the adventurer who discovers the One Ring on the ground in the Misty Mountains. He hands over the ring to Frodo, and thus begins the journey. Meaning a ‘short sword’, this friendly name has a sharp edge to it.

6. Gandalf:

Gandalf is the mighty wizard who leads the Fellowship of the Ring on their journey to Middle Earth. Gandalf in old Norse means ‘elf wand’, so it is truly a magical name.

7. Bregalad:

Bregalad is the name of a Rowan Ent with a meaning ‘quickbeam’. He was the first Ent to declare war on Isengard.

8. Samwise/Sam:

Samwise Gamgee was Frodo’s best friend and his constant companion. He is often regarded as the real hero of Lord of the Rings. Samwise comes from the English word ‘sammwis’, which means ‘half-wise’ or ‘simple’. Its shortened form Sam would make a good unisex name.

9. Peregrin/Pippin:

Peregrin, also known as Pippin, is one of Frodo’s hobbit friends. He is known for causing mischief. Peregrin comes from the Latin word, which means ‘pilgrim’. Pippin is its pet form, but you can further shorten it to Pip.

10. Meriadoc:

Here’s another member of the Fellowship of the Ring. He is Frodo’s first cousin and Pippin’s best friend. Meriadoc is borrowed from the Welsh name Meiriadog, which means ‘head of the sea’. Its nickname Merry means ‘lord’.

11. Beorn:

Beorn is the master of Carrock who can assume the form of a bear.

12. Boromir:

Boromir is a noble and valiant warrior respected throughout, and even beyond Gondor. The name was invented by the author Tolkien. It has elements of both Quenya and Sindari, and is said to mean a ‘faithful jewel’.

13. Legolas:

Legolas is the elven prince of the Woodland Realm. He is a member of the Fellowship of the Ring. This fictional name means ‘green leaves’, a moniker perfectly in touch with nature.

14. Gimli:

Gimli is the sole dwarf who puts his pride aside to fight along with his friend. The name Gimli comes from an old Norse word Grimm, which means ‘fire’.

15. Beregond:

Beregond was the first captain of the White Company of Gondor. He was the guard of Faramir in the books.

16. Glorfindel:

Glorfindel was the elf of Rivendell, who leads the Elvish forces from the Grey Haven against Angmar in the Battle.

17. Barliman:

Barliman Butterbur was the proprietor of one of the inns in Prancing Pony where the four hobbits, including Frodo, met Strider for the first time.

18. Elessar:

Elessar was the name given to Aragorn by the Elves. It means Elfstone.

19. Elrond:

Elrond was the patriarch of the Rivendell Elves. He, along with Isildur, led the united army of Elves to defeat Sauron at the end of the Second Age of Middle Earth.

20. Eomer:

Eomer was one of the Riders of Rohan and the nephew of King Theoden.

21. Celeborn:

Celeborn was the Lord of the Galadhrim and the husband of Galadriel.

22. Denethor:

Denethor was the father of Boromir and Faramir and the steward of Gondor. He killed himself after hearing the news of his son’s death.

23. Faramir:

Faramir is Boromir’s brother. He assists Sam and Frodo in their journey to Mordor. It is one of our favorite names from the list. It has an Arabic touch to it.

24. Bergil:

Bergil is another of our favorite names. It belongs to the son of Beregond. Bergil and his father were guides of Pippin in Minas Tirith.

25. Gollum:

Gollum is the name of the wretched creature living in the Misty Mountains. He possesses the One Ring for nearly 50 years and even pursues Bilbo to get the ring back when he loses it.

26. Halbarad:

Halbarad is the Dunedain ranger, just like Aragon. He led a company of rangers to help Aragorn in the battle of Pelennor.

27. Tintalle:

Tintalle is another name for Elbereth Gilthoniel. It means ‘star-kindler’.

28. Wormtongue:

Wormtongue was the corrupt advisor of King Theoden. He conspired with Saruman to take over the kingdom of Rohan. Not the most appealing of the names.

29. Treebeard:

Treebeard is the Master Ent from Fangorn who discovers Pippin and Merry in the forest after they escape from the orcs.

30. Theoden:

King Theoden was the King of Rohan. He was almost killed, but was revived by Gandalf the White.

31. Shadowfax:

If you want an upbeat name for your son, go for Shadowfax. He was Gandalf’s steed through most of the Lord of the Rings. He’s also considered the greatest of all the horses of the Middle-earth.

32. Sauron:

Sauron is the name of the member of one of the most powerful races, the Maiar race. But he was eventually defeated by Frodo when the One Ring is cast into the fires. The meaning of Sauron is ‘abhorred’.

33. Saruman:

Saruman was the name of the traitorous wizard of the White Tower and Isengard’s steward. He was betrayed and killed by Wormtongue.

34. Rohirrim:

Rohirrim was the ancestral name of the horseman tribe living on the plains of Rohan, which is governed by King Theoden.

34. Orald:

Orald is one of the coolest Lord of the Ring names. It was Tom Bombadil’s nickname given by the Men.

35. Isildur:

Isildur was the name of the Dunedain man of the Second Age. The fantasy touch in this name will ensure that your child stands out in a crowd.

36. Hasufel:

Hasufel was the horse of Rohan given to Aragorn by Eomer to assist in their travels.

37. Gwaihir:

Gwaihir is the name of the greatest of the eagles in Lord of the Rings. He rescued Gandalf from Saruman’s prison and led the Eagles with Gandalf to rescue Samwise and Frodo from Mount Doom.

38. Gloin:

Gloin was the name of the father of Gimli. He was one of the original 12 dwarf adventurers from The Hobbit.

39. Fladrif:

Also known as Skinbark, Fladrif was the reclusive Ent, who refuses to come down the mountains to fight.

40. Finglas:

Finglas is the sleepyhead character from the Lord of the Rings. He is fondly called Leaflock for his leafy hair.


Native Florida Trees

This live oak stands behind the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

Thinking about adding a tree to your landscape? Go native! Florida has several attractive, hardy species of differing sizes. From small trees like redbuds to the majestic live oak, there's a Florida native tree for practically any home landscape.

If you’re looking for small trees, consider the redbud. In Central and North Florida, it puts on an amazing show each spring with a beautiful display of pink flowers. The medium-to-large red maple ushers in spring with red flowers and winged seeds.

As far as large trees go, the bald cypress will do well near water or on drier land throughout the state. The live oak is a majestic native that can also be planted statewide.

Even if a tree is native, make sure you know its soil, light, and other requirements, to ensure its success in your landscape. Remember, all trees will need regular watering following planting.


Coniferous Trees

The seed cones of the pines are woody, often with sharp spines on the scales (courtesy Alberta Forest Service). Most conifers are evergreens, retaining their needlelike leaves for several years (Corel Professional Photos). There is one species of Douglas fir that occurs in Canada (courtesy John N. Owens). Conifer leaves are adapted to prevent water loss (Corel Professional Photos).

Sometimes called evergreens, most coniferous trees keep their foliage year-round. There are over 600 living species of conifers, and while there is some debate over how many are native to Canada, the number is approximately 30. Conifers include the oldest and tallest trees. The oldest, the Bristlecone pine, can live to be nearly 5,000 years old. The tallest, the Coast redwood, grows to over 100 m high. Both of these conifers grow in California. Products made from coniferous trees include paper, many kinds of lumber, furniture and anti-cancer drugs. In large part because of their usefulness, conifers are in danger. Exploitation, forest degradation and habitat destruction have placed 34 per cent of conifers under threat of extinction.

Classification

Conifers are a large group of resinous, cone-bearing trees and shrubs. According to the biological classification system, conifers comprise the order Coniferales of the Gymnosperms. Gymnosperms are woody plants that have naked seeds and do not produce flowers. There are seven families of conifers, which are sub-classified into 67 groups called genera, and sub-classified further into over 600 living species.

Range

Conifers have an extensive range, but are found primarily in the Northern Hemisphere, as far north as the Arctic Circle. They can also be found in Central America and South America. Conifers are widespread in Europe and Asia, and several species can be found in Africa. Few are tropical.

Conifers native to Canada include the Douglas fir, pine, spruce, larch, true fir, hemlock, cedar, cypress, juniper and yew. The greatest diversity of conifers occurs in the western provinces, with British Columbia having 25 native species. The second greatest diversity is in the eastern and Atlantic provinces, with relatively few species in the central provinces. Most species grow in limited geographical regions, but the black spruce and white spruce species extend from coastal British Columbia to the Atlantic Ocean.

Anatomical Features

Most conifer species are evergreen, meaning they retain most of their leaves throughout the year. However, a few genera, such as larch, are deciduous, meaning they shed all their leaves every autumn. Most evergreens shed leaves (or branches, in cedars) that grew two or more years earlier, so that newer branches are never bare of leaves. Most conifers have needle-like leaves such as the fir, pine, spruce and larch. Some, like cedar, cypress and juniper trees, have scale-like leaves and do not shed individual leaves, but shed short branches bearing one or more years growth.

Most conifers have seeds on the surface of their scales, forming seed cones. This is why they are called Gymnosperms, which means naked, seeded plants. Seed cones also have smaller leaf-like structures called bracts below each scale. Bracts may be small and entirely hidden under the scale as in true firs or partially hidden as in hemlock. In some conifers, such as Douglas fir or larch, bracts are long and extend beyond the scales. In these examples, the bracts are not attached to the scale. In other conifers, such as pines, the bract and scale may be partly fused forming a bract-scale complex. In still others, such as cedar and cypress, the bracts and scales are totally fused into a single structure.

Mature seed cones are commonly large and woody as in pines, spruce, larch and firs. In others, like cedar and cypress, mature seed cones are small and woody, but they can also be non-woody and soft as in junipers. In a few conifers, seeds are borne singly, occasionally with a berry-like covering as in Podocarpus and yew.

Resin ducts are found in all conifers and conifer structures, including the roots, stems, leaves, cones and even some seeds. Resin ducts are tiny tubes lined with cells that secrete sticky pitch into the ducts and often to the surfaces of the tree. It serves as a protection mechanism to seal wounds or areas where leaves, cones, branches or bark have been naturally shed. The resin is harvested from some conifers, especially pine trees, for its many commercial uses. Resin’s earliest use was as caulking for wooden sailing ships. It is still used to obtain terpenes, a group of chemicals used for the extraction of turpentine, and related oils and compounds.

Surviving Winter

During late summer and early fall, when days become shorter and temperatures decrease, temperate conifers undergo several changes in their leaves, stems and roots. Cell divisions and cell growth stop. There is no active growth forming new tissues or organs such as wood or leaves, respectively. Many complex chemical changes also occur, ranging from increased amounts of soluble salts and sugars, and in some, the production of anti-freeze compounds, all of which increase the cold resistance of the living tissues. These complex physiological changes lower the ice-forming temperature by several degrees allowing the living tissues to survive long periods of sub-freezing temperatures.

Reproduction

All conifers have separate seed cones and pollen cones. These may be borne either on the same tree (monoecious, one home) or on different trees (dioecious, two homes). Pollen cones produce abundant yellow pollen, which is dispersed by wind every spring and enters the seed cones (pollination) where fertilization, embryo and seed development occur.

In most conifers, pollination, fertilization, and embryo and seed development occur in one growing season, from spring through autumn. However, in pines and a few other genera, there is a delay of one year between pollination and fertilization, or fertilization and seed development, and the reproductive cycle is extended over two growing seasons. In both types of reproductive cycles, the seed cones mature in the autumn and seeds are shed either when the dry cone opens or disintegrates.

Most species have seeds with either one or two wings that slow their fall, helping in seed dispersal. Seeds are commonly dispersed by wind, but squirrels and other rodents may disperse them as well. In yew and a few species of pine, birds disperse the seeds. In several conifers, entire cones are shed rather than individual seeds.

Families

The classification and taxonomy of conifers has changed in recent years as a result of new molecular technologies and studies of reproductive biology. There are now considered to be seven living families and one extinct family, the Lebachiaceae. It is believed that all modern conifers evolved from the extinct Lebachiaceae during the Mesozoic Era over 200 million years ago, around the time of the rise of the dinosaurs. Of the seven living families, Araucariaceae and Podocarpaceae are the oldest families. They are distributed primarily within the Southern Hemisphere. The Sciadopityaceae family has but one genus and one species (Sciadopitys verticillata), which is native to Japan. The 15 species (in two genera) of Cephalotaxaceae are all native to eastern Asia. Three families have species native to Canada, the Pinaceae, Cupressaceae and Taxaceae.

The pine family is the largest, most familiar and widely-distributed family containing 10 genera and about 220 species. Most are large trees, like firs, spruce and larches, but some species are shrubs. The Pinaceae arose soon after the Podocarpaceae and Araucariaceae, and are distributed across the Northern Hemisphere, mostly in temperate regions, with the exception of a species native to Indonesia. Pinaceae are also found along ocean shores and in high alpine and dry desert regions across North America, Europe and Asia.

They all have needle-like leaves and small-to-large woody cones with two seeds per cone scale. The largest genera are Pinus (pines) with 109 species. Abies (true firs) have 49 species and Picea (spruce) are comprised of 34 species. Other genera have fewer species, like Larix (larch) with 10 species Tsuga (hemlocks) with nine species Pseudotsuga (Douglas fir) with four species Cedrus (true cedars) with four species and Keteleeria with three species.

The Pinaceae are commercially the most important conifer family in Canada. Nine species of pine, five species of spruce, three species of hemlock, three species of larch, three species of true firs and one species of douglas fir are found in Canada. They are most abundant in western and eastern Canada, but some species of pine, larch and spruce can be found almost coast-to-coast.

The Cypress family (cypresses, cedars and junipers) were combined with the former Redwood family (Taxodiaceae) because of their similarities in cone structure, reproductive development and new molecular evidence. The current Cupressaceae family consists of 28 genera and 118 species.

They are quite variable in leaf structure. Some have deciduous needle-like leaves. Most have small scale-like leaves and a few, like junipers and interior redwood (Sequoiadendron), have short-to-awl-shaped leaves. The considerable variation in leaf form (morphology) was one of the main reasons for the original separation of the two original families. The new classification is based on more conservative reproductive and molecular information.

The Cupressaceae vary greatly in size. They may be huge trees, like redwoods, or shrubs, like many junipers. Mature seed cones are usually small, woody, soft or berrylike, and all have completely fused bracts and scales, each of which may bear several seeds. The seeds usually have two small wings or no wings.

The Cupressaceae is the most widely distributed family of conifers. They are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere from the arctic tundra to high mountains and desert areas. They are also found in the Southern Hemisphere, in South America, Africa and Australia. A few species also grow in tropical regions of Southeast Asia. The following species can be found in Canada: the Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and Eastern white cedar (T. occidentalis), the yellow cypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis), and three species of JUNIPERS (Juniperus communis, J. horizontalis and J. virginiana).

The yew family is represented by five genera and about 22 species. Four of the genera, including the largest and most familiar, Taxus, are distributed predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere and one genus, Austrotaxus, extends into the Southern Hemisphere.

The Taxaceae was previously considered to be a separate order, the Taxales, comparable to the order Coniferales because of their single-seeded berry-like seed-cone structure. They are now included as a family within the Coniferales based on new molecular evidence showing a close genetic relationship with other conifers. Also, new reproductive evidence shows that the seed, which is enclosed by a fleshy additional seed covering called an aril, actually begins development within a reduced compound seed-cone structure. The seed-cone structure is similar to that of other conifer families, but in yew, the cone has become reduced to a single small scale and a fleshy red aril that encloses most of the seed.

The wood of Taxus is very hard and beautiful, and is used for furniture, woodcarvings and archery bows. A chemical, taxol, can be extracted from the bark or leaves to be used as a medicine to treat some cancers. This chemical was synthesized in the laboratory in the early 1990s, saving Taxus species from the rapid harvest that began in the late 1980s. Two yew species are native to Canada: ground hemlock (T. canadensis) and western yew (T. brevifolia).


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