Colifers

colifers In India, colifers are mostly distributed in the Himalayas. The main members of the colifers are Pinus, Picea, Abies, Cedrus, Sequoia, Juniperous, Texus etc. In India, six species of pines are found in the northern-western Himalayas, Kashmir, Sikkim, Assam, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and in Nepal. The fully developed pine is a tall tree. It usually grows on rocky and shallow soils. The pine establishes itself in the ground by its main root system which reaches quite deep in the earth. The monopodial branching is present in the plant.

Two types of leaves are found in the pine trees: 1. Scale leaves also called cataphylls. They help in keeping branches moist by conserving water. They don't have the capacity for photosynthesis. 2. Foliage leaves which are green and needle-like. These are commonly known as needle pines. The needles maylive 3 to 10 years and thus are responsible for the ever green nature of the plant. The needles are generally 25 to 45 cm in length and are triangular in shape.

All the conifers are economically quite important for man. Several members of this group are grown in gardens for ornamental or decoration purposes. Their presence checks soil erosion and provides shelter for wildlife. Certain species of conifers yield aromatic compounds which are used in medicines, paints and in the perfume industry. Resin is extracted from Pinus Rouxburghii, P. Wallichiana, P. Insuelaris, P. Gerardiana and the Chilgoza Pine. Taxus Borx is used in making tea in Ladakh. Pine timber is used for making railway sleepers and furniture. The richly scented Deodar (Cedrus Deodara) is a well known conifer of the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan tracts.