Biological Foundations 112, Lecture 32


Gymnosperms II

Chapter 27, pages 560-563
Basic Botany-4   10:11-19:18
Five Kingdoms-5 12:24-16:33


I.   Families of Coniferophyta

     A.   Family Taxodiaceae - redwoods

            1.   Characteristics

                  a.   Either scale-like leaves or needle-like leaves depending upon the species

                  b.   Cones

                        (1)  Pendulous

                        (2)  Scales not overlapping

                        (3)  Scales separate at maturity and the seeds drop out

            2.   Genera

                  a.   Sequoia sempervirens

                        (1)  Commonly known as the Coast Redwood

                        (2)  Needle-like leaves

                        (3)  Small cone

                        (4)  Endemic to coastal California (not naturally found any other place in the        
                               world)

                        (5)  This tree is the tallest tree in the world.  Approximately 350 feet tall.

                  b.   Sequoiadendron gigantea

                        (1)  Commonly known as the Giant Sequoia or Big Tree

                        (2)  Leaves scale-like and clothe the entire branch

                        (3)  Cones are large in comparison to the Coast Redwood

                        (4)  Endemic to the southern Sierras of California

                        (5)  This species is the largest in the world in terms of its total volume of wood

     B.   Family Cupressaceae

            1.   The leaves are scale-like and clothe the entire branch

            2.   Cones are somewhere between the cone size of Sequoia and Sequoiadendron and
                   to a large degree the same shape

            3.   Examples of this family are cypress, juniper and cedar

     C.   Family Taxaceae

            1.   Characteristics

                   a.   Needle-like leaves that are separate and in flat sprays

                   b.   Fruit is either solitary and berry-like or acorn-like and one-seeded

            2.   Genera

                  a.   Taxus - yew

                        (1)  Has a berry-like fruit that is red, edible, and very palatable

                        (2)  Needles are separate and soft

                        (3)  Taxacol is extracted from the bark as a cancer treating drug

                  b.   Torreya - California Nutmeg

                        (1)  This is not the spice that nutmeg is taken from

                        (2)  Has a one-seeded acorn-like fruit

                        (3)  Has solitary needles that are stiff with sharp points


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