Gymnosperms- Beautiful, Useful Plants

The conifer forestDear kids, you must have seen gymnosperms, the plants are used widely as ornamentals and can be frequently spotted in gardens and parks. They have naked seeds. Pines and Cedars are common if you live in high altitude regions. But do you know that these groups of plants also are very important and provide a number of products.

Some of the uses of gymnosperms are-

1. Ornamental and aesthetic purpose- Cycas species, Thuja, Araucaria are fairly common and planted in gardens and parks for their beautiful aesthetic appeal.

2. As a source of wood- Wood from gymnosperms is used as timber, for furnitures, packing boxes, pencils, railways sleepers, pulp and paper industry, match box, and also as fuel. Pine, Cedar, Douglas fir, Spruce, Juniper, Hemloc, Yew, Taxodium, Agathis are some of the species that are important sources of wood.

3. Eatables from gymnosperms- Cycas yields sago, starch is also obtained from seeds of Macrozamia, kernels of Gingko biloba, Seeds of Pinus gerardiana are eaten, popularly called as chilgoza.

4. Medicinal uses-

  • Resin from Cycas rumphii finda application in treatment of ulcer.
  • Resin from Pinus roxburghii for stoamchache.
  • Extract from Gingko leaves for cardio and kungs. Also for asthamatic patients.
  • Taxus bacata for cough, asthma etc.

5. Resins-

  • Copal- from Agathis australis. Used for making varnish, polishes and plastics.
  • Rosin- From pine. Used in varnish, printers, ink, rubber, grease and paints.
  • Canada Balsam- From Abies balsamea. Used for mounting microscopic slides.
  • Amber- Fossil resin. Used in X-ray. Also an anti-blood coagulant.
  • Turpentine’s- Chiefly from pine.

6. Tannins- From Hemlock (Tsugo). Used in hide industry.

7. Essential Oils-

  • Oil from Hemlock used in deodorants.
  • Gin is flavoured from oil of Juniperus species.
  • Oil from Cedrus deodara and Cupressus sempervirens is used in perfume industry.
  • Oil from Gnetum ula used for relief in rheumatism.

Learn more about some of the gymnosperms (Click on the links given below);

Pine

Cupressus

Araucaria

Gingko

Thuja

Cedrus

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