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Difference Between Deciduous and Coniferous

Deciduous vs Coniferous

The terms “deciduous” and “coniferous” tell us of classifying trees in two aspects which are according to their leaves and the manner of seed production. There are also other ways of classifying trees like by their group of species “hardwood” and “softwood.” Not surprisingly, though, one can also regard an entire forest as either deciduous or coniferous.

Foremost, one can call a tree deciduous when it loses its leaves during some parts or seasons of the year. Trees with leaves falling off particularly during fall and ultimately losing them throughout winter are described as deciduous. Although they no longer have leaves during the wintertime, these trees are still very much alive. “Deciduous” is actually taken from a Latin term which means “to fall.”

Aside from the typical falling off of the leaves, deciduous trees possess leaves that somewhat transform into another color. During fall, most of their leaves turn reddish, yellowish, or slightly orange. It is also important to note that the majority of deciduous trees also happen to be classified as hardwood. This classification does not directly imply that the wood is hard, although deciduous trees really tend to be much harder than coniferous trees (softwood). Examples of deciduous trees are the fruit trees, oak, nut, and maples.

Coniferous trees are described as such, not by their leaves falling off during fall or winter, but by their seed-bearing natures. These trees bear seeds in structures known as cones. They are, therefore, regarded as gymnosperms (having naked seeds) as opposed to flowering plants (angiosperms). Moreover, most coniferous trees abound in colder climate regions.

The complete opposite of a deciduous tree is not coniferous but is called the evergreen trees whose green leaves, called needles, remain intact for the entire year. A good example of an evergreen tree is the pine. At the same time, pine trees are growing cones as well so they are coniferous. Others incorrectly regard coniferous trees as the exact opposite of deciduous. However, since most conifers are evergreens, this way of thinking is still accepted.

One probable reason why some are confused with these two tree classifications is because of the presence of deciduous conifer trees which appear to be the trees that fall under both categories.


1.Deciduous trees have leaves that fall off during fall and are completely gone during winter.
2.Deciduous trees have leaves that change in color (to yellow, orange, or red).
3.Coniferous trees bear seeds into cones.
4.Coniferous trees are softwood trees while deciduous trees are primarily hardwood.

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  1. There are also evergreen broadleaf trees like the madrone (Arbutus menziesii).

  2. This article was very informative I was looking to find out more about the aboretum of Detroits Native Timber this fall . Detroit is nicknamed the Paris of Detroit I found it interesting that Paris is also a city of many trees. Thank You

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