The key difference between deciduous and evergreen trees is that deciduous trees shed their leaves seasonally while evergreen trees keep their leaves throughout the year without showing a seasonal leaf shedding.
Plant kingdom consists of thousands of different plant types that possess diverse characteristics. The plants are categorized based on these characteristics. Deciduous and evergreen are two opposite types of trees categorized based on the pattern and seasonality of foliage growth. Plants in between deciduous and evergreen are the semi-deciduous trees. Herein, this article will highlight the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What are Deciduous Trees
3. What are Evergreen Trees
4. Similarities Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees
5. Side by Side Comparison – Deciduous vs Evergreen Trees in Tabular Form
What are Deciduous Trees?
Deciduous trees are trees that seasonally shed their unnecessary parts, especially leaves, from their structure. Most deciduous trees have broad leaves. Due to the structure of leaves and the pattern of leaf arrangement, the effectiveness of photosynthesis is much higher in deciduous trees. However, it has both positive and negative effects compared to other types of trees. Because of the broadleaf structure, deciduous trees are very much susceptible to windy and winter weather conditions. Therefore, falling of those unnecessary leaves is essential during bad weather conditions. It ensures not only a better survival in winter weather conditions but also high water conservation and protection against predatory actions.
Most woody plants, oak, maple, shrubs; honeysuckle, and temperate woody vines such as grapes frequently show deciduous characteristics. There are two characteristic deciduous forests and 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 seasonal temperature variations, whereas the other type responds to seasonal rainfall patterns. Therefore, these two types differ from each other by several characteristics such as growing patterns, leaf shedding and dormancy occurring periods, etc.
What are Evergreen Trees?
Evergreen is the totally opposite of deciduous. As the name evergreen implies, evergreen trees’ foliage persists throughout the year. There is no seasonal leaf shedding in evergreen trees, unlike in deciduous trees. Generally, evergreen plants show a huge variation within them since they include most conifers and angiosperms. Hemlock, cycads, oak, and eucalyptus are some examples of different evergreen trees.
Although there is no seasonal leaf shedding, new leaves replace the old leaves of evergreen trees with the aging of those trees. Furthermore, evergreen trees prefer warm temperate climatic conditions very much. Hence, most tropical rainforests are evergreen forests.
What are the Similarities Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees?
- Deciduous and evergreen trees are two types of plant groups.
- They are photoautotrophs.
- Moreover, they are photosynthetic and release Oxygen to the atmosphere.
What is the Difference Between Deciduous and Evergreen Trees?
Deciduous trees are a group of plants that shed their leaves seasonally while evergreen trees are another group of plants that keep their leaves throughout the entire year. So, this is the key difference between deciduous and evergreen trees. Furthermore, another significant difference between deciduous and evergreen trees is that the deciduous trees easily tolerate cold and dry weather conditions by shedding their leaves seasonally while evergreen trees cannot tolerate cold and dry weather conditions.
Moreover, evergreens can survive under low nutrient levels in the soil. However, the nutrient requirement of evergreens is somewhat high during bad weather conditions since they have to maintain foliage. But, in the case of deciduous plants, the nutritional requirement is high after the harsh time because of the renewal of the foliage. Therefore, this is also a difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
Besides, a further difference between deciduous and evergreen trees is the sensitivity to temperature and rainfall. Deciduous plants are more sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall than evergreen plants.
Summary – Deciduous vs Evergreen Trees
Deciduous and evergreen trees are the two main types of trees. Deciduous trees shed their leaves seasonally while evergreen trees retain their leaves through the year. Therefore, we can consider this as the key difference between deciduous and evergreen trees. Moreover, deciduous trees are more sensitive to temperature and rainfall than the evergreen trees. However, they can tolerate cold and dry weather conditions in contrast to evergreen trees. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.
1. “Evergreen.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 June 2017, Available here.
2. “What Are Deciduous Trees? – Types, Definition & Examples.” Study.com, Study.com, Available here.