5 Best Types of Conifers (How to identify Them)

Conifers, also referred to as Coniferous plants, are trees with leaves that rarely fall off as the seasons change. The leaves, however, are unique and do not look like the larger leaves found on common trees such as oak trees. Instead, the leaves of Coniferous plants are needlelike and sharp.

The long and sharp needle-like leaves are beautiful. There are many different varieties of Coniferous plants, which can come in all different sizes, shapes, and colors. This type of tree is not only interesting because of its appearance, though. These unique trees reproduce using the wind for movement. The seeds associated with Coniferous plants are actually pine cones, which is where the word ‘conifers’ comes from. The female pine cones are pollinated by male pine cones and produce seeds that are viable.

What are the three common types of coniferous trees in North America? The three most common types of conifers in North America are pine, fir, and spruce trees; however, listed below are five different types of Conifers and details regarding their history and use.

1. Pine Trees

Pine trees are one of the more common Conifer trees. When people think about the types of Conifers trees, they are likely to think of a pine tree. Pine trees are large trees that produce pine cones, as opposed to dropping seeds from flowers. If you ever wonder to yourself what conifers are the most common type? Look no further; pine trees are the most common of them, and have the most varieties in the conifer family!

Instead of growing large leaves, Pine trees instead have long pine needles. The color does not change as the season’s change. There are over two hundred different varieties of Pine trees. Interestingly, not all Pine trees are part of the Conifer family.

The History of Pine Conifer Trees

You may be asking yourself then, is a pine tree a conifer? The answer is kind of! Some varieties of Pine trees are conifers, while others are part of the evergreen family. The history of Pine Confider trees, however, can be traced to over one hundred million years ago, during the Jurassic period.

Interestingly, pine trees are also one of the only types of Conifers that can breed between inter-species. In other words, the reason that not all pine trees are part of the Conifer family is that they breed and pollinate with other tree species, such as evergreen trees.

How to Use Pine Trees in Your Garden/Lawn

If you are interested in using Pine trees in your garden then you’re in luck! Pine trees grow rapidly and come in different varieties. For instance, if you do not have a lot of space and don’t want to cover your backyard with too much shade, you can purchase a dwarf pine tree. Pine trees can even be shaped beautifully.

If you want a stellar front yard to show off your tree that produces delicious-smelling pine cones, you should install a pine tree. These trees are easy to take care of and seldom need fertilizer or extra watering. The unique large pine cones from pine trees also make wonderful decorative things for your home. You can bring them inside, with a low risk of pests as Pine trees repel pests.

2. Spruce Trees

Spruce trees are like pine trees; they are evergreen and coniferous trees. What is the difference between evergreen and coniferous? Evergreen trees are simply trees that don’t change during the season. Even with cold temperatures, spruce trees don’t change color or fall. However, coniferous trees are trees that bear pinecones as seeds rather than flowers or leaves.

Spruce trees are gorgeous. They have long needles in place of where other trees have left. These trees also have a very long lifespan. The average lifespan of a Spruce tree is between 100 to 200 years old. While this is an average, researchers have found Spruce trees that were over 800 years old.

The History of Spruce Trees

Spruce trees may have originated in Northern countries where it often snows during the winter. The history of Spruce trees is extensive! Spruce trees have been around for a minimum of 135 million years. It is estimated that Native Americans used Spruce trees for forgery as early as the 15th century.

Spruce trees are not only used for their wood. Native Americans in North America used the roots of tree systems, like Spruce trees, as cords. These cords were used to create canoes and stronger clothing that could withhold the cold.

How to Use Spruce Trees in Your Garden/Lawn

Spruce trees are a decorator’s paradise! If you live in an area where it snows and you want a tree that won’t lose its greenery, then you should look into growing a Spruce tree. These trees live hundreds of years and are easy to cultivate and grow. In one year, Spruce trees can grow between one to three feet tall.

During snowy periods, these trees glisten and catch the snow with their branches perfectly. Spruce trees look beautiful as they shine with the sun. There are 35 varieties throughout the world you can choose from.

3. Fir Trees

Who doesn’t love a good Fir tree? Have you ever wondered to yourself what tree is a Christmas tree? Well, it shouldn’t be surprising that Christmas trees are actually Fir trees! Some retailers sell Pine trees as Christmas trees, but the original was likely a Fir tree.

Fir trees are a favorite amongst homeowners and landscapers because of how unique they are. Unlike other types of Conifers, Fir trees are symmetrical. The needlelike ‘leaves’ rarely ever fall or change color because of the seasons changing. These trees are a mix between evergreen trees and coniferous trees. They produce male and female pines throughout the year and thrive in cold and windy places. Without wind, new Fir trees cannot reproduce.

The History of Fir Trees

Fir trees, like other coniferous and evergreen trees, have been around for millions of years. The history is so extensive that scientists have found fossils with perfectly stamped Fir tree ‘leaves’ and needles. This is a clear indication that Fir trees have been around for a long time.

Fir trees are especially surrounded by Pagan and Christian history. Starting in the 14th century, all over Europe, people celebrated winter traditions by decorating Fir trees. These trees, however, were not brought inside until the 16th century. The large Fir trees covered in snow outside were decorated with fruits, nuts, and paper decorations made by children.

How to Use Fir Trees in Your Garden/Lawn

If you are someone who loves getting into the Christmas and holiday spirit, look into using a Fir tree in your backyard or front yard! Fir trees are versatile and grow quite large! However, you can buy dwarf varieties if you are low in space or want to grow a Fir tree inside.

While the majority of Fir trees live outside, it is possible to start them from seed inside. They thrive in any condition, but can make a mess. While the needles do not shed because the weather or seasons are changing, they do often fall, creating a mess around your home. If you have a Fir tree outside, you can decorate it during Fall and Winter to match the theme of the Holidays.

4. Cypress Trees

Cypress trees are one of many different types of Conifers that can withstand rough weather, pests, and water. Cypress trees are a great addition to any home looking for a plant that can live and thrive in wet conditions.

You can find many Cypress trees in the wetlands across the United States. For example, one of the more common areas you can find Cypress trees is in the everglades in Florida. Cypress trees are survivors; they do well against water, and rarely suffer from root rot. Typically in plants, when the roots are submerged in water, they rot and die with a lack of oxygen. In Cypress trees, this does not happen. Instead, they need these harsh conditions to thrive.

The History of Cypress Trees

There are a few popular theories surrounding Cypress trees. Some scientists argue that the tree has been around since PANGEA when all the continents were one large landmass. While this is a theory that has been discussed for years, others think that it may have only been around since the existence of Fir trees. There is no way of knowing just yet.

What we do know about Cypress trees is that they live for hundreds of years! They are also pest resistant, which is why in just one year, they can grow 2 feet taller. This fast-growing plant reaches new heights each year, surprising garden and lawn owners throughout the U.S.

How to Use Cypress Trees in Your Garden/Lawn

Cypress trees are a long-term plant! If you want to use a Cypress Tree in your yard to spruce it up for decorative purposes, you need to find a variety that can withstand not being submerged in water. Unless you live in the wetlands, it is hard to cultivate and grow a Cypress tree, as they need consistent water flow.

If you do choose to grow one, however, they can basically take care of themselves. Unlike other coniferous trees, Cypress trees come in different colors! While green is beautiful, if you want a new color to your home, you can choose a Cypress tree that is primarily orange, or that changes colors during the Fall season.

5. Cedar Trees

Cedar trees are one of the many types of Conifers seen in the wild. Cedar trees are large and bushy, full of many vibrant green needles. The full appearance of this tree makes it a great spot for animals to seek shelter during harsh weather such as snow and rain. It is not uncommon to see a family of squirrels or birds sharing the branches of these trees.

The History of Cedar Trees

The history of Cedar Trees is long! Long before humans existed on the planet, there were unique plants growing and changing. One of these is Cedar trees! Cedar trees grow naturally in the Himalayas and the Mediterranean region. These trees do not shed their needles and instead stay vibrant all year round.

You can mainly find Cedar trees in mountain ranges as part of the natural ecological system. The average lifespan of a Cedar tree is 150 years old, although they can live past that. Typically, the reason that Cedar trees don’t live until the age of 150 is because of natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding that will rip the trees right out of the ground.

How to Use Cedar Trees in Your Garden/Lawn

Although Cedar trees are not great for creating shade, they can aid in bringing animals and wildlife to your home. If you want more animals in your garden or lawn but don’t have the space for them, you can use a Cedar tree to lure them in—plant Cedar trees in rich and rocky soil. Cedar trees are easy to care for and will leave your front or backyard smelling and looking beautiful!


All in all, Conifer trees are beautiful, and it is immensely difficult to choose which is the best one. All of the different types of Conifers are elegant and have a rich history throughout the world. Conifers are plants, mainly trees, that have needles instead of leaves and produce pinecones as a form of reproduction.

Trees, especially Conifer trees, have been around for millions of years! They existed long before humans, in the Jurassic period. Each conifer plant has its own purpose and can be used by gardeners and homeowners in different ways. They all, however, survive well in snowy and cold conditions, and provide picturesque views as they hold up snow with their thick branches.


What is the difference between evergreen and coniferous? 

The difference between evergreen and coniferous is that evergreen plants do not shed their needles or change with the seasons, while coniferous plants are types of conifers that produce pine cones as viable seeds.

What tree is a Christmas tree?

The Christmas tree is a Fir tree. However, pine trees are also sold as Christmas trees throughout North America.

What conifers are the most common type? 

Pine trees are the most common type of Conifers in the world.
Is a pine tree a conifer? Pine trees are conifers because they reproduce and pollinate using pine cones instead of flowers or berries.

What are the three common types of coniferous trees in North America? 

The three most common types of Conifer trees in North America are the fir, pine, and spruce trees.

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