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© 2003 Gary Andrashko, Illinois State Museum
© 2000 Karl Wilson
© 2005 Yale Peabody Museum
What are Conifers and Relatives? Conifers are seed-bearing plants whose reproductive structures are grouped together in cones. While most are evergreen (they keep their leaves year-round), some drop their leaves once a year. And while most have thin, needle- or scale-like leaves, some conifers have wide leaves. Their extinct relatives, the Cordaitales, share some but not all characters with conifers. The first record of conifers comes from the Carboniferous, and many species survive today, including the oldest living organisms, the bristlecone pines, and the tallest ones, the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron).
First known fossil occurrence: Carboniferous.
Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.
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