General characteristics and structure of gymnosperms.

Gymnosperms are terrestrial, usually evergreen trees and shrubs (sometimes lianas).

Gymnosperms have organs – a stem, root and leaves. These plants reproduce and spread by seeds. The gymnosperms got their name because their seeds lie openly on the surface of the cone scales.

The presence of seeds gives these plants a huge advantage over spore plants. Unlike spores, seeds have a supply of nutrients, and the embryo of the future plant, which is inside the seed, is well protected from adverse conditions.

Gymnosperms are a very ancient group of higher seed plants. They reached their heyday about 150 million years ago. Then they dominated among the terrestrial plants of our planet.

Of the modern gymnosperms, the most famous are conifers. Conifers are widespread in our country. These include spruce, pine, fir, larch, juniper, cypress, etc.

The leaves of most conifers are narrow, needle-like – such leaves are called needles. The needles have a dense skin, covered with a waxy substance, so the plants evaporate little water and are well adapted to adverse conditions. In some species, such as cypress, the leaves are scaly.

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