A conifer is a type of tree that produces cones and evergreen needles. Spot a pile of cones beneath a tree and you've found yourself a conifer.

With the word cone embedded in it, it's no surprise that conifer is the term used for cone-producing trees. Conifers can often be identified by their typically long needle-shaped leaves like the kind you find on a Christmas tree. Mostly found in northern forests where the winters are cold, the tough prickly leaves on conifers make them adaptable to the weather.

Definitions of conifer

n any gymnospermous tree or shrub bearing cones

coniferous tree
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pine, pine tree, true pine
a coniferous tree
larch, larch tree
any of numerous conifers of the genus Larix all having deciduous needlelike leaves
Pseudolarix amabilis, golden larch
Chinese deciduous conifer resembling a larch with golden yellow leaves
fir, fir tree, true fir
any of various evergreen trees of the genus Abies; chiefly of upland areas
cedar, cedar tree, true cedar
any cedar of the genus Cedrus
any coniferous tree of the genus Picea
hemlock, hemlock tree
an evergreen tree
douglas fir
tall evergreen timber tree of western North America having resinous wood and short needles
Chinese evergreen conifer discovered in 1955; not yet cultivated elsewhere
cedar, cedar tree
any of numerous trees of the family Cupressaceae that resemble cedars
cypress, cypress tree
any of numerous evergreen conifers of the genus Cupressus of north temperate regions having dark scalelike leaves and rounded cones
Athrotaxis selaginoides, King William pine
evergreen of Tasmanian mountains having sharp-pointed leaves that curve inward
Metasequoia glyptostrodoides, dawn redwood, metasequoia
large fast-growing Chinese monoecious tree having flat bright-green deciduous leaves and small globular cones; commonly cultivated in United States as an ornamental; known as a fossil before being discovered in China
any of several Asian and North American conifers of the genera Thuja and Thujopsis
Asiatic conifers resembling firs
Wollemi pine
newly discovered (1994) pine thought to have been long extinct; Australia; genus and species names not yet assigned
any of several tall South American or Australian trees with large cones and edible seeds
dammar pine, kauri pine
any of various trees of the genus Agathis; yield dammar resin
any of several evergreen trees and shrubs of eastern Asia resembling yew and having large seeds enclosed in a fleshy envelope; sometimes cultivated as ornamentals
celery pine
Australasian evergreen conifer having a graceful head of foliage resembling celery that is composed of phyllodes borne in the axils of scalelike leaves
any evergreen in the southern hemisphere of the genus Podocarpus having a pulpy fruit with one hard seed
Podocarpus coriaceus, yacca, yacca podocarp
West Indian evergreen with medium to long leaves
Podocarpus elatus, Rockingham podocarp, brown pine
large Australian tree with straight-grained yellow wood that turns brown on exposure
African yellowwood, Podocarpus elongatus, cape yellowwood
South African tree or shrub having a rounded crown
Podocarpus totara, totara
valuable timber tree of New Zealand yielding hard reddish wood used for furniture and bridges and wharves
Dacrycarpus dacrydioides, New Zealand Dacryberry, New Zealand white pine, Podocarpus dacrydioides, kahikatea
New Zealand evergreen valued for its light easily worked wood
Dacrydium cupressinum, imou pine, red pine, rimu
tall New Zealand timber tree
Dacrydium colensoi, tar-wood, tarwood
New Zealand silver pine of conical habit with long slender flexuous branches; adapted to cold wet summers and high altitudes
Falcatifolium falciforme, common sickle pine
small tropical rain forest tree of Indonesia and Malaysia
Falcatifolium taxoides, yellow-leaf sickle pine
a rain forest tree or shrub of New Caledonia having a conic crown and pale green sickle-shaped leaves; host species for the rare parasite yew
Dacrydium bidwilli, Halocarpus bidwilli, New Zealand mountain pine, tar-wood, tarwood
New Zealand shrub
Lagarostrobus colensoi, silver pine, westland pine
timber tree of New Zealand having shiny white wood
Dacrydium franklinii, Lagarostrobus franklinii, huon pine
Tasmanian timber tree with yellow aromatic wavy-grained wood used for carving and ship building; sometimes placed in genus Dacrydium
Nageia nagi, nagi
medium-sized tree having glossy lanceolate leaves; southern China to Taiwan and southern Japan
Podocarpus ferruginea, Prumnopitys ferruginea, black pine, miro
New Zealand conifer used for lumber; the dark wood is used for interior carpentry
Podocarpus spicata, Prumnopitys taxifolia, black pine, matai
conifer of Australia and New Zealand
Prumnopitys andina, Prumnopitys elegans, plum-fruited yew
South American evergreen tree or shrub
Prince Albert yew, Prince Albert's yew, Saxe-gothea conspicua
small yew having attractive foliage and partially weeping branches cultivated as an ornamental; mountains of southern Chile
Podocarpus amara, Prumnopitys amara, Sundacarpus amara
a large fast-growing monoecious tropical evergreen tree having large glossy lanceolate leaves; of rain forests of Sumatra and Philippines to northern Queensland
Japanese umbrella pine, Sciadopitys verticillata
tall evergreen having a symmetrical spreading crown and needles growing in whorls that resemble umbrellas at ends of twigs
any of numerous evergreen trees or shrubs having red cup-shaped berries and flattened needlelike leaves
pinon, pinyon
any of several low-growing pines of western North America
Pinus glabra, spruce pine
large two-needled pine of southeastern United States with light soft wood
Pinus nigra, black pine
large two-needled timber pine of southeastern Europe
Pinus rigida, northern pitch pine, pitch pine
large three-needled pine of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada; closely related to the pond pine
Pinus serotina, pond pine
large three-needled pine of sandy swamps of southeastern United States; needles longer than those of the northern pitch pine
European nut pine, Pinus pinea, stone pine, umbrella pine
medium-sized two-needled pine of southern Europe having a spreading crown; widely cultivated for its sweet seeds that resemble almonds
Pinus cembra, Swiss pine, Swiss stone pine, arolla pine, cembra nut tree
large five-needled European pine; yields cembra nuts and a resinous exudate
Pinus mugo, Swiss mountain pine, dwarf mountain pine, mountain pine, mugho pine, mugo pine
low shrubby pine of central Europe with short bright green needles in bunches of two
Pinus longaeva, ancient pine
small slow-growing pine of western United States similar to the bristlecone pine; chocolate brown bark in plates and short needles in bunches of 5; crown conic but becoming rough and twisted; oldest plant in the world growing to 5000 years in cold semidesert mountain tops
white pine
any of several five-needled pines with white wood and smooth usually light grey bark when young; especially the eastern white pine
yellow pine
any of various pines having yellow wood
Jeffrey pine, Jeffrey's pine, Pinus jeffreyi, black pine
tall symmetrical pine of western North America having long blue-green needles in bunches of 3 and elongated cones on spreading somewhat pendulous branches; sometimes classified as a variety of ponderosa pine
Pinus contorta, lodgepole, lodgepole pine, shore pine, spruce pine
shrubby two-needled pine of coastal northwestern United States; red to yellow-brown bark fissured into small squares
Pinus contorta murrayana, Sierra lodgepole pine
tall subspecies of lodgepole pine
Pinus taeda, frankincense pine, loblolly pine
tall spreading three-needled pine of southeastern United States having reddish-brown fissured bark and a full bushy upper head
Pinus banksiana, jack pine
slender medium-sized two-needled pine of eastern North America; with yellow-green needles and scaly grey to red-brown fissured bark
swamp pine
any of several pines that prefer or endure moist situations such as loblolly pine or longleaf pine
Canadian red pine, Pinus resinosa, red pine
pine of eastern North America having long needles in bunches of two and reddish bark
Pinus sylvestris, Scotch fir, Scotch pine, Scots pine
medium large two-needled pine of northern Europe and Asia having flaking red-brown bark
Jersey pine, Pinus virginiana, Virginia pine, scrub pine
common small shrubby pine of the eastern United States having straggling often twisted or branches and short needles in bunches of 2
Monterey pine, Pinus radiata
tall California pine with long needles in bunches of 3, a dense crown, and dark brown deeply fissured bark
Pinus aristata, Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine, bristlecone pine
small slow-growing upland pine of western United States (Rocky Mountains) having dense branches with fissured rust-brown bark and short needles in bunches of 5 and thorn-tipped cone scales; among the oldest living things some over 4500 years old
Pinus pungens, hickory pine, prickly pine, table-mountain pine
a small two-needled upland pine of the eastern United States (Appalachians) having dark brown flaking bark and thorn-tipped cone scales
Pinus attenuata, knobcone pine
medium-sized three-needled pine of the Pacific coast of the United States having a prominent knob on each scale of the cone
Japanese red pine, Japanese table pine, Pinus densiflora
pine native to Japan and Korea having a wide-spreading irregular crown when mature; grown as an ornamental
Japanese black pine, Pinus thunbergii, black pine
large Japanese ornamental having long needles in bunches of 2; widely planted in United States because of its resistance to salt and smog
Pinus torreyana, Torrey pine, Torrey's pine, grey-leaf pine, sabine pine, soledad pine
medium-sized five-needled pine of southwestern California having long cylindrical cones
American larch, Larix laricina, black larch, tamarack
medium-sized larch of Canada and northern United States including Alaska having a broad conic crown and rust-brown scaly bark
Larix occidentalis, Oregon larch, western larch, western tamarack
tall larch of western North America have pale green sharply pointed leaves and oblong cones; an important timber tree
Larix lyallii, subalpine larch
medium-sized larch of the Rocky Mountains; closely related to Larix occidentalis
European larch, Larix decidua
tall European tree having a slender conic crown, flat needlelike leaves, and hairy cone scales
Larix russica, Larix siberica, Siberian larch
medium-sized larch of northeastern Russia and Siberia having narrowly conic crown and soft narrow bright-green leaves; used in cultivation
silver fir
any of various true firs having leaves white or silvery white beneath
Abies bracteata, Abies venusta, Santa Lucia fir, bristlecone fir
a pyramidal fir of southwestern California having spiny pointed leaves and cone scales with long spines
Cedrus libani, cedar of Lebanon
cedar of Lebanon and northwestern Syria that attains great age and height
Cedrus deodara, Himalayan cedar, deodar, deodar cedar
tall East Indian cedar having spreading branches with nodding tips; highly valued for its appearance as well as its timber
Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlantica
tall Algerian evergreen of Atlas mountains with blue-green leaves; widely planted as an ornamental
Norway spruce, Picea abies
tall pyramidal spruce native to northern Europe having dark green foliage on spreading branches with pendulous branchlets and long pendulous cones
Brewer's spruce, Picea breweriana, weeping spruce
medium-sized spruce of California and Oregon having pendulous branches
Engelmann spruce, Engelmann's spruce, Picea engelmannii
tall spruce of Rocky Mountains and British Columbia with blue-green needles and acutely conic crown; wood used for rough lumber and boxes
Picea glauca, white spruce
medium-sized spruce of northeastern North America having short blue-green leaves and slender cones
Picea mariana, black spruce, spruce pine
small spruce of boggy areas of northeastern North America having spreading branches with dense foliage; inferior wood
Picea obovata, Siberian spruce
tall spruce of northern Europe and Asia; resembles Norway spruce
Picea sitchensis, Sitka spruce
a large spruce that grows only along the northwestern coast of the United States and Canada; has sharp stiff needles and thin bark; the wood has a high ratio of strength to weight
Picea orientalis, oriental spruce
evergreen tree of the Caucasus and Asia Minor used as an ornamental having pendulous branchlets
Colorado blue spruce, Colorado spruce, Picea pungens, silver spruce
tall spruce with blue-green needles and dense conic crown; older trees become columnar with lower branches sweeping downward
Picea rubens, eastern spruce, red spruce, yellow spruce
medium-sized spruce of eastern North America; chief lumber spruce of the area; source of pulpwood
Canadian hemlock, Tsuga canadensis, eastern hemlock, spruce pine
common forest tree of the eastern United States and Canada; used especially for pulpwood
Carolina hemlock, Tsuga caroliniana
medium-sized evergreen of southeastern United States having spreading branches and widely diverging cone scales
Tsuga mertensiana, black hemlock, mountain hemlock
large evergreen of western United States; wood much harder than Canadian hemlock
Pacific hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla, west coast hemlock, western hemlock
tall evergreen of western North America; commercially important timber tree
Oregon fir, Oregon pine, Pseudotsuga menziesii, douglas hemlock, douglas pine, douglas spruce, green douglas fir
lofty douglas fir of northwestern North America having short needles and egg-shaped cones
Pseudotsuga macrocarpa, big-cone douglas fir, big-cone spruce
douglas fir of California having cones 4-8 inches long
Cupressus goveniana, gowen cypress
small sometimes shrubby tree native to California; often used as an ornamental; in some classification systems includes the pygmy cypress and the Santa Cruz cypress
Cupressus goveniana pigmaea, Cupressus pigmaea, pygmy cypress
rare small cypress native to northern California; sometimes considered the same species as gowen cypress
Cupressus abramsiana, Cupressus goveniana abramsiana, Santa Cruz cypress
rare California cypress taller than but closely related to gowen cypress and sometimes considered the same species
Arizona cypress, Cupressus arizonica
Arizona timber tree with bluish silvery foliage
Cupressus guadalupensis, Guadalupe cypress
relatively low wide-spreading endemic on Guadalupe Island; cultivated for its bluish foliage
Cupressus macrocarpa, Monterey cypress
tall California cypress endemic on Monterey Bay; widely used for ornament as well as reforestation and shelterbelt planting
Cupressus lusitanica, Mexican cypress, Portuguese cypress, cedar of Goa
tall spreading evergreen found in Mexico having drooping branches; believed to have been introduced into Portugal from Goa
Cupressus sempervirens, Italian cypress, Mediterranean cypress
tall Eurasian cypress with thin grey bark and ascending branches
Austrocedrus chilensis, Chilean cedar
a small South American evergreen having coppery bark and pretty foliage
Calocedrus decurrens, Libocedrus decurrens, incense cedar, red cedar
tall tree of the Pacific coast of North America having foliage like cypress and cinnamon-red bark
Atlantic white cedar, Chamaecyparis thyoides, coast white cedar, southern white cedar, white cedar, white cypress
slow-growing medium-sized cedar of east coast of the United States; resembles American arborvitae
Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Lawson's cedar, Lawson's cypress, Oregon cedar, Port Orford cedar
large timber tree of western North America with trunk diameter to 12 feet and height to 200 feet
Alaska cedar, Chamaecyparis nootkatensis, Nootka cypress, yellow cedar, yellow cypress
tall evergreen of the Pacific coast of North America often cultivated for ornament
Cryptomeria japonica, Japan cedar, Japanese cedar, sugi
tall evergreen of Japan and China yielding valuable soft wood
incense cedar
any of several attractive trees of southwestern South America and New Zealand and New Caledonia having glossy evergreen leaves and scented wood
Libocedrus plumosa, kawaka
New Zealand timber tree resembling the cypress
Libocedrus bidwillii, mountain pine, pahautea
evergreen tree of New Zealand resembling the kawaka
Thuja plicata, canoe cedar, red cedar, western red cedar
large valuable arborvitae of northwestern United States
American arborvitae, Thuja occidentalis, northern white cedar, white cedar
small evergreen of eastern North America having tiny scalelike leaves on flattened branchlets
Oriental arborvitae, Platycladus orientalis, Thuja orientalis
Asiatic shrub or small tree widely planted in United States and Europe; in some classifications assigned to its own genus
Thujopsis dolobrata, hiba arborvitae
slow-growing medium-large Japanese evergreen used as an ornamental
Araucaria araucana, chile pine, monkey puzzle
large Chilean evergreen conifer having intertwined branches and bearing edible nuts
Araucaria excelsa, Araucaria heterophylla, norfolk island pine
evergreen of Australia and Norfolk Island in the South Pacific
Araucaria columnaris, new caledonian pine
very tall evergreen of New Caledonia and the New Hebrides similar to norfolk island pine
Araucaria bidwillii, bunya bunya, bunya bunya tree
Australian conifer bearing two-inch seeds tasting like roasted chestnuts; among the aborigines the tree is hereditary property protected by law
Araucaria cunninghamii, Moreton Bay pine, hoop pine
pine of Australia and New Guinea; yields a valuable light even-textured wood
Agathis australis, kauri, kaury
tall timber tree of New Zealand having white straight-grained wood
Agathis alba, Agathis dammara, amboina pine, amboyna pine
native to the Moluccas and Philippines; a source of dammar resin
Agathis robusta, dundathu pine, queensland kauri, smooth bark kauri
Australian timber tree resembling the kauri but having wood much lighter in weight and softer
Agathis lanceolata, red kauri
New Zealand tree with glossy leaves and scaly reddish-brown bark
California nutmeg, Torreya californica, nutmeg-yew
California evergreen having a fruit resembling a nutmeg but with a strong turpentine flavor
Torrey tree, Torreya taxifolia, stinking cedar, stinking yew
rare small evergreen of northern Florida; its glossy green leaves have an unpleasant fetid smell when crushed
Phyllocladus asplenifolius, celery top pine, celery-topped pine
medium tall celery pine of Tasmania
Phyllocladus trichomanoides, tanekaha
medium tall celery pine of New Zealand
Alpine celery pine, Phyllocladus alpinus
small shrubby celery pine of New Zealand
English yew, Old World yew, Taxus baccata
predominant yew in Europe; extraordinarily long-lived and slow growing; one of the oldest species in the world
California yew, Pacific yew, Taxus brevifolia, western yew
small or medium irregularly branched tree of the Pacific coast of North America; yields fine hard close-grained wood
Japanese yew, Taxus cuspidata
shrubby hardy evergreen of China and Japan having lustrous dark green foliage; cultivated in the eastern United States
Florida yew, Taxus floridana
small bushy yew of northern Florida having spreading branches and very narrow leaves
Austrotaxus spicata, New Caledonian yew
large yew native to New Caledonia; cultivated in eastern Australia and New Zealand and Hawaii
Pseudotaxus chienii, white-berry yew
yew of southeastern China, differing from the Old World yew in having white berries
Type of:
gymnospermous tree
any tree of the division Gymnospermophyta

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