Conifers are a group of woody, cone bearing trees and shrubs which form an important component of global forests, particularly in colder climates where they often dominate huge swaths of land. The first conifers appeared many millions of years before flowering plants, during the Carboniferous era almost 300 million years ago. Most conifer species are evergreen, with a few notable exceptions, and have characteristic long, flattened leaves, which are commonly referred to as needles. The lightweight but durable timber of conifers is an important building material throughout the world.
The Conifer collection is located in the southern portion of the Garden along our ADA south switchback path. New plantings in this area are focusing on rare and unusual conifers such as a recently planted Vietnamese golden cypress (Xanthocyparis vietnamensis), a small tree which was only recently discovered in the mountains of northern Vietnam.