Coniferous vs. Deciduous Trees

Coniferous Trees

Coniferous forests are made up mainly of cone-bearing or coniferous trees, such as spruces, hemlocks, pines and firs. The leaves of these trees are either small and needle-like or scale-like and most stay green all year around (evergreen). All are softwoods able to survive cold temperatures and acidic soil.

Coniferous forests are found mainly in the northern hemisphere, although some are found in the southern hemisphere.

Deciduous Trees

Deciduous trees have broad flat leaves that catch a lot of light and require a great amount of water. In some cases, leaf loss coincides with winter -- namely in temperate or polar climates when there is less sunlight for the process of photosynthesis. In other parts of the world, including tropical, subtropical, and arid regions, deciduous trees lose their leaves during the dry season or other seasons, depending on variations in rainfall. This allows the trees to enter a dormant period during the difficult times as a means of survival.

The process of shedding unneeded parts such as leaves is known as abscission. Unlike deciduous trees, evergreen trees such as pine and cedar trees keep their needles year round.



WWF Website

Encyclopedia Britannica Website

Trees by Miller 2008

Tree Guide by Smith 2012


Wildlife Pictures

Jan Johnson Photography