Gymnosperms and Gnetophytes

of Orange County, California

Compiled by Peter J. Bryant, School of Biological Sciences, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697

* Exotic species

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Gymnosperms are woody perennials including Ginkgo, Cycads (Sago Palm), conifers, and Ephedra. They lack flowers, and are believed to be among the earliest seed plants. They have instead male and female reproductive structures in separate cones.  There are no anthers for pollen production, nor stigmas. At the base of the scales of female cones there are two ovules which are fertilized by wind-blown pollen.  Pollen is produced in huge quantities to enhance the chance of pollen reaching a receptive ovule (Clarke).
Cupressaceae: Cypresses     Ephedraceae: Ephedras

Incense Cedar,
Calocedrus decurrens

Tecate Cypress,
Cupressus forbesii

California Juniper,
Juniperus californica
Pinaceae: Pines. Pines produce crops of fruit at irregular intervals from 3 to 7 yrs., a pattern that is thought to reduce seed predation by squirrels, birds and other animals.  Orange County has 3 genera of Pinaceae: Pinus (pines) have long, needle-like leaves in bundles arising from a basal sheath, large, elongate female cones and tiny male cones.  Cedrus (cedars)  and Pseudotsuga (Douglas fir) have individual needle-like leaves with no basal sheath. The cones of most Pinus species mature at the end of their second growing season, whereas all other trees in Pinaceae have cones that mature in a single growing season. Taxaceae:
Bald Cypresses

Knobcone Pine, Pinus attenuata

Coulter Pine,
Pinus coulteri

* Aleppo Pine,
Pinus halepensis

Bigcone Douglas-Fir (Bigcone Spruce), Pseudotsuga macrocarpa