Comparing Conifers and Deciduous Trees | Botanical …

Cernusak, Lucas A., Klaus Winter, Jorge Aranda and Benjamin L. Turner. “Conifers, Angiosperm Trees, and Lianas: Growth, Whole-Plant Water and Nitrogen Use Efficiency, and Stable Isotope Composition (δ13C and δ18O) of Seedlings Grown in a Tropical Environment.” Plant Physiology 148:642-659 (2008). Accessed March 5, 2012 at .

Comparing Conifers and Deciduous Trees ..

leaf mass per area, and photosynthesis in maple and oak trees.

What's the Difference Between Deciduous and Coniferous Trees?

Conifer needles last for several years, with spruce needles living up to a decade and those of Bristlecone pines in California lasting 20, 30, or even as long as 40 years. Holding onto needles during the winter also allows the tree to photosynthesize year round…as long as temperatures are mild enough and days long enough.

Differences Among Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

Growing a cuticle comes at a price, though. It requires an investment of carbon, which the tree must recruit via photosynthesis. Individual trees, and each species as a whole, must find just the right balance between costs (like growing a cuticle) and benefits (like durable leaves) that foster survival.


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Most (not all) conifers keep their leaves year round, while many broadleaved trees (including all of those that grow in the Methow) shed their leaves in the fall and grow new ones in the spring—an approach to life that seems wasteful, if not downright profligate, on its face. But nature is nothing if not efficient, so…there must be a reason.

Tree: Tree, woody plant that regularly renews its growth (perennial)

In the course of a growing season, many of those leaves will be torn by the wind, eaten by insects, pecked by birds, and colonized by fungi and bacteria. The overall leaf area is so much greater, though, that the short-lived leaves are still a good investment. Their photosynthetic capacity—that is, their ability to capture carbon and convert it to nutrients—is greater than that of the longer-lived coniferous leaves.

Trees: Science, Mythology, Metaphysics, News - …

The pines are a stable presence from one season to the next, but in this summer season the deciduous trees seem to throb with life as light and water mingle in a seasonal photosynthetic dance. In just a few short weeks they’ve created a dense canopy of new leaves, and by the end of November they’ll have shed them.

Do evergreens photosynthesize in winter

I’m writing here about evergreen conifers—those that keep their leaves during the winter—and deciduous broadleaves—those that lose their leaves in the fall. Those qualifications apply to all of the trees that are native to the Methow Watershed, with two exceptions—the Alpine and Western larches ( and )—deciduous conifers that have adapted to extreme environments by adopting characteristics of both types of tree.

Coniferous Forest Biome: Temperature, Climate, …

In either case, conifer leaves are compact. The compact form minimizes surface area and so reduces water loss. It also enables the leaf to bury its vascular tissue—through which water moves—in protective photosynthetic tissue. The cells that use sunlight are close to the surface, while the water-bearing cells are deep in the needle, keeping the precious liquid safe from evaporation.

Identifying Conifers, Coniferous Trees

How, exactly, do conifers and broadleaved trees approach the task of surviving and reproducing? What does each have to gain from its way of doing things? How does each one use the resources at its disposal to thrive?