December 13
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Gymnosperm

That large class of plants that reproduce from seeds but bear them more or less exposed on the scales of a cone, rather than fully enclosed in a fruit (as in the flowering plants or angiosperms). Gymnosperms lack true flowers. They are now considered a stage of evolution rather than a natural group derived from a single common ancestor. The 2 major gymnosperm groups are the conifers and cycads. There are also 4 evolutionary ?dead ends? with a single genus each, namely Ginkgo, Ephedra, Gnetum, Welwitschia.

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