Snow Scenes, winter, tracks in the snow, ca. 1980
Photograph by Boston Review, Boston, MA, United States 
Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, United States
The Conifer Collection of the Arnold Arboretum is comprised of 567 gymnosperm taxa (or kinds) representing 9 families, 31 genera, and 197 species. The main tract occupies twenty-four acres (10 hectares; excludes Hemlock Hill) and is arranged to facilitate the study of cone-bearing plants. Just like flowering plants, conifers form seeds. However, instead of being enclosed in fleshy fruits, the seeds of conifers are protected in cones, the female reproductive structures of conifers. Conifers also have pollen-bearing cones as male reproductive structures, and male and female cones can occur on the same plant or on separate plants. Accurate identification of conifers requires an examination of the cones; however, leaf (needle) characteristics are also important clues to identification. Historic views of the conifers are made available by the Arnold Arboretum Horticultural Library.
Explore conifers from around the world at a free Collections Up Close event on February 4 from 1:00-3:00pm in the Conifer Collection, with drop-in family activities, plant information, and hot chocolate.
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