Among extant seed plants gymnosperms represent the ancestral ones, which were the dominating group of land plants before they were edged out by the rapidly evolving angiosperms at the end of the Cretaceous / Early Tertiary. Thus, the species spectrum of gymnosperms and their structural diversity have previously been much higher than is reflected by the recent species spectrum. However, the knowledge and understanding of this ancestral group of seed plants is essential for the understanding of the modern ones, the angiosperms. Conifers are the largest group among extant gymnosperms. Their reproductive structures, which are arranged in compact cones, still have an enormous structural diversity. This monograph about coniferous reproductive structures introduces into the morpho-anatomical cone structure and some functional aspects such as the pollination process with pollen release, pollen capture or the withdrawal of pollination drops.
Cones of Conifers includes over 50 full-page diagnostic colour plates and introduces the overall cone structure of both genders. A special chapter treats the diagnostic characteristics of each coniferous family and genus. Thus, this textbook is of interest for botanists, foresters, horticulturists, dendrologists and everyone who is fascinated by this unique group of seed plants and their reproductive structures.