Difference Between Deciduous and Coniferous Trees

Deciduous vs Coniferous Trees

All trees belong to the kingdom plantae, and they can be classified in to several categories based on various criteria. One major criterion in the categorization of trees can be identified as their physiology. Some of the major types of trees can be named as angiosperms vs. gymnosperms and deciduous vs. coniferous. Deciduous, coniferous and evergreen trees are very much important in the field of forestry studies. Therefore, it is very much important to have an idea about all the types separately and distinguish the features in order to differentiate them clearly.

What are deciduous trees?

Deciduous refer to trees, which seasonally shed off their unnecessary parts especially the leaves from their structure. Most of them are broad leaves trees. Because of the structure of leaves and the pattern of leaf arrangement, the effectiveness of photosynthesis is very much high in the case of deciduous trees. However, it has both positive and negative effects compared to the other types of trees. Because of the broad leaf structure, deciduous trees are very much susceptible to tolerate windy and winter weather conditions. Therefore, falling of those unnecessary leaves are needed at the period of bad weather conditions. It ensures not only a better survival in winter weather conditions but also high water conservation and a protection against the predatory actions. Deciduous characteristics can be frequently observed in most of the woody plants (oak, maple), shrubs (honeysuckle) and in temperate woody vines (grapes). There are two characteristic deciduous forest types where the majority of the trees shed their foliage at the end of their typical growing season. They are namely temperate deciduous forests and Tropical and subtropical deciduous forests. Trees in temperate deciduous forests are sensitive to the seasonal temperature variations, whereas the other types respond to the seasonal rainfall patterns. Therefore, the growing, leaf shedding and dormancy occurring periods are varying with the type. Opposite of deciduous is evergreen, foliage of which persist throughout the year.

What are coniferous trees?

Coniferous trees are coming under the division Phynophyta. These plants bear a cone and mostly it is the flower of them. Most of the conifers are included in the category of evergreen woody plants. Although the leaf shedding is not seasonal as deciduous, only they shed their oldest leaves, which remained, on the tree for a long time. Pines, firs, and hemlocks can be named as some of the well-known conifers. The leaf structure and patterns of arrangement may vary in different conifers. Most of them consist of needle like leaves whereas some have diverse shapes such as flat, triangular, scale-like, broad, flat strap-shaped and awl-shaped leaves. The arrangement of leaves in the majority of conifers is spiral. Leaf shape, arrangement and many other adaptations can be seen in these trees. They can survive in vast environmental conditions by having those. The general dark green color of leaves may help to absorb the sunlight in shade conditions, whereas the yellowish color of leaves and wax coating collectively promote the growth under high intensity of sun light. Conifers are largely used in timber and paper production.


What is the difference between deciduous tree and coniferous tree?

• Deciduous trees show a seasonal pattern of leaf shedding, whereas most of the conifers are evergreen. However, five genera of the division Phynophyta are categorized as deciduous (Larix, Pseudolarix, Glyptostrobus, Metasequoia and Taxodium).

• Deciduous trees have a re-growth period (often during the summer) to develop the foliage which shed off during the previous winter.

• Leaves of deciduous trees are often broader than coniferous leaves.

• Xylem vessels of most deciduous trees are larger from their diameters to increase the transpiration rate while the foliage re-growth.