Resinous trees or rarely shrubs comprising about 9 genera and 225 species found mostly in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The leaves are spirally disposed and are linear and needlelike. The male or microsporangiate strobili are small, terminal, or more often clustered along the stem axis, and consist of many papery microsporophylls, each with two microsporangia on the lower surface. The pollen grains typically have two, bladderlike wings. The female cones or megasporangiate strobili are woody and often large, consisting of many ovuliferous scales, each with a pair of adaxial ovules and a more or less distinct subtending bract.

Each "thumbnail" image below is linked to a larger photograph.

Abies pinsapo, Spanish fir. 1,2 - female cones, 3 - male cones, 4 - vegetative shoots. Corvallis OR, Jul 2004.
Abies sp., fir.
Cedrus atlantica, Atlantic cedar. This species has short lateral shoots with closely spiralled leaves. Both male and female cones are terminal on these short spurs. The female cone is on the left and the male cone is the brown and orange one on the right.
Cedrus deodara, Note that 2 winged seeds separate from each ovuliferous scale. This genus is one of the exceptional ones for the family in that the cones disintegrate while remaining on the tree. Nearly all of the scales have already abscised from the axis of the cone.
Picea engelmannii, Engelmann spruce.
Picea pungens, Colorado blue spruce. The female cone is this photo has been placed on the branch in an unnatural position.
Picea sitchensis, Sitka spruce. 1 - habit, 2 - female cones. Seal Rock, Oregon Coast, July, 2004.
Picea sp., Spruces have sharply pointed needles that are square in cross section and are attached to the stem on short pegs called sterigmata.  OSU campus, Corvallis, OR, July, 2003.
Pinus attenuatis, knobcone pine.
Pinus lambertiana, sugar pine. Pines can grow to be very large. Though not visible in this photo, this species has woody female cones a foot or more in length that hang from the tips of the spreading branches.
Pinus longaeva, bristlecone pine. This species is distinguished by being exceedingly long-lived, up to 4,900 years. Individual leaves may function for up to 45 years. Note five leaves per cluster and also the dark brown cluster of microsporangiate strobili in the upper photo. The bristly structure in the lower photo is an ovuliferous cone.
Pinus monophylla.
Pinus ponderosa, ponderosa pine. Different species of pines have from 1-5 needles in a tightly spiralled cluster enveloped by a membranous sheath. This is a so-called 3 needle pine.
Pinus sp. Note the large cluster of microsporangiate strobili and the cloud of pollen produced upon tapping the stem.
Pinus mugho, mugho pine. This is a 2-leafed pine. On the left is a mature brown cone from which the winged seeds have already been dispersed. On the right is an immature cone with the scales still fleshy and tightly appressed to the axis. Most members of the family have cones that persist intact on the tree long after seed maturation. When they finally drop they are still usually intact. Exceptions are found in the genera Cedrus and Abies.
Pseudotsuga menziesii, Douglas fir. This genus has the leaves one per node in a continuous spiral arrangement. It also has the most conspicuous cone bracts of any member of the family. They are the green and orange 3-lobed, strongly exserted, reflexed structures subtending each ovuliferous scale.
Tsuga heterophylla, hemlock, note drooping top.
Tsuga mertensiana, mountain hemlock, 1 - note drooping top and female cones, 2,3 - male strobili, Crater Lake, OR, July, 2003.

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