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Laboratory Report

Articles: Laboratory Report

Conifer vs. Angiosperm

An idea long prevailed that angiosperm trees, having superior reproductive capability compared to conifers, displaced them to extreme habitats considered unfavorable to angiosperms. A study of extant conifers supports the notion that in productive regions of the tropics, leaf structure (needles instead of wide leaves) and vascular structure (tracheids instead of vessels) puts conifers at a competitive disadvantage with angiosperms in terms of growth speed. There is evidence that some conifers became extinct as a result. But the “slow seedling” hypothesis does not account for the broad range of habitats occupied by modern conifers. The three most successful conifer families are Pinaceae (Northern Hemisphere), Podocarpaceae (Southern Hemisphere), and Cupressaceae (global). Various distinct mechanisms employed by conifers, allow them to escape direct confrontation with angiosperm competitors. Besides their conservative functional traits that allow them to endure and survive stress in extreme habitats, conifers successfully: 1) compete against angiosperms for resources once they are mature, 2) colonize sites following a disturbance and, 3) tolerate low-intens...


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