Conifers are a division of pinophyta in the plant kingdom comprosed largely of trees varying in size from two feet to one hundred and fifty feet tall and typified by their mostly cone shape and cone shaped seed pods.  The noun conifer was first recorded around 1841 to include most of the trees in this group which date back to the Carbiniferous period 300 million years ago.  Conifer derives from the adjective coniferous which has been in English since just after the time of Chaucer and comes from the Latin words conus meaning cone or cone shaped and ferre meaning to bear or to carry.  The Ancient Greeks used the same word with the same meaning:  κωνος, and the word has remained unchanged for 2500 years.  

Image of conifers in winter courtesy www.christmasstockimages.com, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.

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pronunciation | mA-‘rak-E

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