Looking up at old growth Douglas fir trees

Modern conifers

Modern conifers are characterised by having male pollen-producing and female seed-producing cones. They are totally reliant on wind to move the pollen from the male to the female. The type of scaly female cone produced can vary widely between the different families. Some have familiar woody pine cones, while others, like the yew, have single, scaled, berry-like, red cones. Male cones, on the other hand, are all small and very similar. The modern conifer order contains eight families and over 600 species, including pines, cypress, firs and yew. Their leaves are mostly needle-shaped and scale-like. They are found everywhere except for the driest deserts and highest mountains.

Scientific name: Pinales

Rank: Order

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The following habitats are found across the Modern conifers distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Coniferous forest Coniferous forest
The coniferous forests of temperate regions undergo warm summers and cool winters, unlike their tropical counterparts. The species aren't exclusively conifers, there are usually a few broadleaf varieties too.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Flowering Flowering
Flowering is definitely the most successful plant reproductive strategy and has opened up nearly every habitat on Earth for colonisation. Usually brought on by a change in temperature or daylight, flowering is the reproductive stage of a plant's life cycle.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web


  1. Life
  2. Plants
  3. Conifers
  4. Pinopsida
  5. Modern conifers