Conifers

CO_Plongaeva_joedecruyenaere_BYSA2
Pinus longaeva (CC BY-SA 2.0) Joe Decruyenaere/flickr.com, cropped

Scientific Name: Coniferales

Status: Extant (alive today)

Oldest fossil anywhere: Carboniferous of Colorado (about 310 million years ago)

Oklahoma fossil record: Macrofossils have been found in Oklahoma rocks deposited during the Permian Period.

Conifers are seed plants that produce seeds and pollen in separate cones. Most conifers have narrow or needle-like leaves, and most are evergreen, but some like the Swamp Cypress (Taxodium distichum) shed their leaves in Autumn.

Conifers include the tallest recorded tree—Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) at 379.33 feet (115 meters) tall—and the oldest recorded standing tree—Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) at 4,843 years old.