Plants > Seed plants
Vascular Seed Plants:
Gymnosperms & Angiosperms
Vascular seed plants constitute most of the world's flora; they can live just about anywhere that there are plants. They are considerably more complex than the non-seed plants, so I will cover them in a series of pages devoted to anatomy and to life cycles:
Vascular seed plants are often put into two main groups:
The gymnosperms are probably not a monophyletic group; the gymnosperms include a wide range of vascular seed plants that don't have flowers. (For more on gymnosperm relations, see the Tree of Life Web Project.) The most common group of gymnosperms is the conifers, a group that includes pine trees, redwoods, junipers, and several others. Pines are the only gymnosperm covered in detail in the 6A lab. Other gymnosperm groups include cycads and gingkos.
This picture shows a giant sequoia in Yosemite.
Angiosperms (flowering plants)
Most of the plants you're familiar with are flowering plants. Angiosperms dominate most of earth's terrestrial habitats, and they provide food (directly or indirectly) for most terrestial life. Angiosperms include plants with obvious flowers, like roses, but also plants with more cryptic flowers, such as grasses. It's no coincidence that flowering plants dominate the land; they are particularly well adapted to living and reproducing on dry land. Their unique reproductive characteritics -- flowers and fruits -- are also the key to the coevolution of these plants and the animals that help them reproduce.
This picture shows a dogwood in Yosemite.
This page updated November 13, 2012