Are yams and sweet potatoes the same?


[koh-nuh-fer, kon-uh-] /ˈkoʊ nə fər, ˈkɒn ə-/
any of numerous, chiefly evergreen trees or shrubs of the class Coniferinae (or group Coniferales), including the pine, fir, spruce, and other cone-bearing trees and shrubs, and also the yews and their allies that bear drupelike seeds.
a plant producing naked seeds in cones, or single naked seeds as in yews, but with pollen always borne in cones.
1350-1400; Middle English conefere < Latin cōnifer coniferous, equivalent to cōn(us) cone + -i- + -fer -fer Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for conifers
  • The campsites are among the park's forest of redwoods, conifers, cottonwoods and maples.
  • Larches are conifers, deciduous to be sure, but conifers nonetheless.
  • As the area recovered from the fire in the following years, deciduous birch and aspen trees replaced the charred conifers.
  • The tall part of the flora is dominated by conifers, he explains.
  • Western larch often follows or survives fires, later being replaced by other conifers.
  • While deciduous trees of temperate forests lose their leaves in winter, conifers never lose their needles.
  • Occasionally breeds south of mapped breeding range, usually in conifer plantations or residential neighborhoods with conifers.
  • But he says few new conifers are sprouting, possibly from too much trampling.
  • Arrange miniature deep green conifers around a trio of taller lime green ones in a low taupe bowl.
  • Along with hardy evergreen conifers, tough deciduous trees and shrubs form the garden's backbone.
British Dictionary definitions for conifers


/ˈkəʊnɪfə; ˈkɒn-/
any gymnosperm tree or shrub of the phylum Coniferophyta, typically bearing cones and evergreen leaves. The group includes the pines, spruces, firs, larches, yews, junipers, cedars, cypresses, and sequoias
Word Origin
C19: from Latin, from cōnuscone + ferre to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for conifers



1851, from Latin conifer "cone-bearing, bearing conical fruit," from conus "cone" (see cone) + ferre "to bear" (see infer).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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conifers in Science
Any of various gymnosperms that bear their reproductive structures in cones and belong to the phylum Coniferophyta. Conifers evolved around 300 million years ago and, as a group, show many adaptations to drier and cooler environments. They are usually evergreen and often have drought-resistant leaves that are needle-shaped or scalelike. They depend on the wind to blow pollen produced by male cones to female cones, where fertilization takes place and seeds develop. Conifers are widely distributed, but conifer species dominate the northern forest biome known as the taiga. There are some 550 species of conifers, including the pines, firs, spruces, hemlocks, cypresses, junipers, yews, and redwoods. See more at pollination, seed-bearing plant.

coniferous adjective
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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