Sage Whiz Quiz | Conifers
April 10, 2020
Conifer trees moving into sagebrush rangeland.
Photo: Jeremy Roberts, Conservation Media.
- “Conifer” refers to any plant that produces cones. Some conifers, like pine trees, have easily recognizable cones. Others, like the Pacific Yew, have a fleshy cone that looks like fruit and yet others, like juniper trees, have cones that look like berries. The word conifer is a compound of the Latin words for “cone” (conus) and “to bear” (ferre) and directly translates as: “the one that bears cones.”
- Most conifers have needles for leaves, but not all conifers keep their needles year-round. For example, the bald cypress which grows in southeastern swamps loses its needles each winter and tamarack or larch trees have needles that turn a golden yellow in the autumn before dropping to the ground.
- Conifer trees like pinyon pine, juniper, and mesquite have always been present on sagebrush and grassland landscapes but have been expanding into areas where they didn’t historically grow over the last 150 years.
Sagebrush country sustains 350 species as well as hundreds of rural communities and our way of life in the American West. The Sage Grouse Initiative works with ranchers on conservation strategies that benefit working lands and wildlife.
The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.