When it comes to learning about trees, everyone should be on board! Trees are among the most important natural resources on the planet. Without trees, we would not have a sufficient amount of oxygen, and way too much carbon dioxide, in our atmosphere. You see, trees give off oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, so the relationship between all living creatures on Earth and trees is a significant and ancient one!
One of the first things to learn about trees is that there are two main types that exist: deciduous and evergreen. All trees can be categorized as one or the other. Now you have certainly seen numerous examples of these trees in real life, unless of course you’ve been hiding under a rock! But seeing trees is much different than understanding them. Once you learn the differences between deciduous and evergreen trees, you will know exactly what you are looking at next time!
When you see leaves on a tree, you are looking at a deciduous tree. Deciduous trees grow new leaves in the spring and shed their leaves in the fall; then they remain alive, but dormant, all winter long until the sun shines again and new life can emerge with warmer weather.
In the winter, these trees look bare and brazen, so sometimes they are misinterpreted as dead. But this is far from the truth! Deciduous trees simple “sleep” away the winter time until better weather returns. They shut off all their photosynthesis and chlorophyll productions and take a long seasonal nap!
Angiosperms and flowering plants are deciduous vegetation.
Evergreen trees are conifers, and include species like pines, hemlocks, firs, and spruces. They have needles instead of leaves, which remain in place all year long. Even in the winter, evergreen trees do not lose their pine needles, but sometimes, they can turn color depending on environmental conditions. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. Some conifers do lose their needles each fall. These include Larches, Tamaracks, and Bald Cypress.
Gymnosperms and conifers are evergreen vegetation.