13 3 nonflowering vascular plants
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13.3 Nonflowering Vascular Plants

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13.3 Nonflowering Vascular Plants. Gymnosperms. Nonflowering vascular plants that produce seeds are called gymnosperms. Conebearing trees, such as pine and redwood, are the most common gymnosperms alive today.

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Because of their seeds and other adaptations, these plants live and reproduce in places where ferns, horsetails, and club

mosses cannot.


The embryo inside a seed may remain dormant for a long period of time. Then, when the conditions are right, it can begin growing.


The most common living gymnosperms, the conifers, have needle-shaped leaves and seeds produced in cones.


This gnetophytes (NEE toh FYTS) has long straplike leaves and bears clusters of small cones on short stalks.


The ginkgo, also called the maidenhair tree, has fan-shaped leaves and fleshy seeds. Unlike other gymnosperms, the leaves of a ginkgo fall from the tree in autumn.

life cycle of gymnosperms

Life Cycle of Gymnosperms

Example – Pine Tree


The life cycles of gymnosperms differ greatly from the life cycles of ferns, horsetails, and club mosses.


The female gametophyte remains in the cone. It grows into a many-celled mass in which several egg cells begin to develop.


The male gametophyte is packaged into a tiny pollen grain. These are released and carried by the wind.


When the wind-borne pollen reaches a cone where the female gametophyte is developing, pollination occurs.


The male gametophyte grows a pollen tube through which sperm can reach the egg cell. Fertilization occurs as the sperm and egg fuse. The fertilized egg then develops into an embryo.


In this life cycle, the gametophyte generation is very small.

  • For this reason, reproduction in gymnosperms appears to

involve only one generation producing male and female sex cells.