Pinophyta (Gymnosperms): Pinophytina. The Cupressaceae are monoecious or dioecious trees or shrubs comprising about 18 genera and 140 species. The leaves are usually scalelike, and are opposite and decussate, or whorled. The male or microsporangiate strobili are small and inconspicuous, axillary or terminal, usually comprising only a few microsporophylls, each with 3-6 or more microsporangia. The pollen grains lack wings. The female or megasporangiate strobili are small, with 1-12 ovuliferous scales, each fused with its bract and bearing 2-12 ovules. The scales may be flat and imbricate, peltate, or connate. The female cone is woody or sometimes fleshy and berrylike.
Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.
|Cupressus macrocarpa, Monterey cypress. A spreading crown like that seen here is found in many species of this family. This species has female cones with woody, peltate scales. Note the low number of scales per cone.|
|Cupressus sargentii. Note the scale-like, opposite, decussate leaves.|
|Cupressus sp. Note the low number of ovuliferous scales and several seeds per scale.|
|Unknown species. Note the whorled scalelike leaves and the low number of ovuliferous scales per female cone. At this stage the scales are rather fleshy and appear to be connate. At a later stage of development (right) the scales have dried and reflexed and the winged seeds have been shed.|
Non-Flowering Plant Family Access Page