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Abstract

GYMNOSPERMS: A AMAZING WORLD

Dr. Teena Agrawal*

ABSTRACT

The Gymnosperms are a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers, cycads, Ginkgo, and Gnetales (Coulter and Chamberlain 1910). The term "Gymnosperm" comes from the Greek composite word γσμνόσπερμος (γσμνός gymnos, "naked" and σπέρμα sperm, "seed"), meaning "Naked seeds", after the unenclosed condition of their seeds (called ovules in their unfertilized state) (Engler and Prantl 1926). Their naked condition stands in contrast to the seeds and ovules of flowering plants (angiosperms), which are enclosed within an ovary. Gymnosperm seeds develop either on the surface of scales or leave, often modified to form cones, or at the end of short stalks as in Ginkgo (Engler 1986). The gymnosperms and angiosperms together compose the spermatophytes or seed plants. By far the largest group of living gymnosperms are the conifers (pines, cypresses, and relatives), followed by cycads, Gnetophytes (Gnetum, Ephedra and Welwitschia), and Ginkgo (a single living species) (Sporne 1965).

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