Plant Life in the Coniferous Forest

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Coniferous forests got their name because of the many coniferous, cone bearing, trees that they host. Coniferous forests are found in most of North America, Scandinavia, Russia, Asia and Siberia. Two well known coniferous forests are the Taiga and the Boreal forests. There is limited plant life in coniferous forests due to harsh winter conditions.

Types of Trees

Detail of coniferous tree
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Coniferous trees take up most of coniferous forests. Coniferous trees are also called "Evergreens." These types of trees have needle leaves and cones that bear the seeds. Coniferous trees include: pine, fire, hemlock and spruce. Types of trees found in coniferous forests include: black spruce, white spruce, balsam fir, redwood, Douglas fir, white pine, sugar pine, ponderosa pine, Jeffrey pine, cypresses and cedars.

Types of Flowers and Shrubs

Young fern growing
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There are not as many shrubs and flowers as there are trees in the coniferous forests. The following shrubs and flowers are just some of the plants that can be found in a coniferous forest: saskatoon berry and salal are common shrubs; nootka rose and thimbleberry are common bushes. All of the above bushes grow flowers. The Saskatoon berry grows five petaled white flowers. The salal grows white and pink flowers. The nootka rose grows five petaled pink flowers. The thimbleberry grows five petaled white flowers. All of the above plants grow edible berries. Ferns and herbaceous plants also grow in coniferous forests.

Conditions

High alpine forest covered in snow
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All plants in coniferous forests must be able to survive harsh and long winters. All evergreens are able to survive cold temperatures. According to the World Wildlife Fund, "The needle-like leaves have a waxy outer coat which prevents water loss in freezing weather, and the branches are soft and flexible and usually point downwards, so that snow slides off them." The reason why there are not as many ground level plants growing in the coniferous forest is due to the little amount of light that shines through the canopy of the coniferous trees.

Uses

Flowers blooming on forest floor
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Many uses have been discovered for the little flowering plants that grow in coniferous forests. The Saskatoon berry's stems used to be used as arrows, digging sticks and drying racks for natives of the forests. Salal provides food to many mammals, birds and insects, including humans, bears and mice. "Salal leaves can be used as a hunger suppressant," according to the Wilderness College. Nootka rose leaves used to be used as teas to enhance eyesight. The leaves were also used to heal bee stings. The thimbleberry also provides food to many animals and humans.

Problems

Hiking couple looking upward at tree growth
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Acid rain creates unlivable soil conditions for trees growing in the coniferous forests. This especially affects trees growing in coniferous forests in Asia and Canada. Logging is another issue that has caused the destruction of several plants and trees that have given shelter to various animals.

References

About the Author

Naomi Vogel started writing professionally in 2009. Vogel has written for "Volume One," "The Leader Telegram," "Spiral Natural Foods" and "The Student Voice." Vogel has a bachelor's degree in journalism and theater from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Vogel received the Journalism of Excellence Award from her university in 2010.

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