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Vascular Flora of the Southeastern United States
Hardin, Massey, Radford, Thieret, eds.

Copyright - James W. Hardin, Ph. D., 1998, 1999. All Rights Reserved.


Evergreen or deciduous, monoecious or dioecious, aromatic, resinous trees or shrubs. Leaves alternate, opposite and decussate or in whorls of 3 or 4, subulate (awn-shaped) and spreading, or scale-like and divergent or appressed and imbricate, and often with a resinous gland on the abaxial (exposed) surface below the apex. Pollen cones small, oblong, ovoid, or cylindrical, either solitary, in clusters of 2-5, or numerous in terminal racemes or panicles. Seed cones woody, leathery, or semi-fleshy, composed of fused scale-bract complexes, each thin and flattened and imbricate or peltate and connate; seeds laterally winged or wingless.

The Taxodiaceae (Redwood Family) and Cupressaceae s. str. (Cypress Family) have long been recognized as distinct. Recent studies, however, have shown that the monophylitic Cupressaceae s. str. are derived from within the old Taxodiaceae. Therefore, a much more realistic phylogenetic classification combines them into the Cupressaceae s. lat.