Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Cone (flower), the female flower of the majority of the Coniferae (q.v.), consisting of a more or less elongated axis which often becomes woody, and bears, either in alternating whorls or more commonly in complex spirals, the sporophylls, cone-scales, bract-scales, or open carpels, as they are variously termed. In the juniper there are but three scales in a whorl which become fleshy and form the well-known berry. In other Cupressineae there are alternating whorls of two, three, or four carpels bearing ovules, often many in number on a placental swelling in their axils. In many other conifers this placenta is replaced by a scale, or ligular appendage of the carpel, known as the seminiferous scale, bearing two ovules on its inner face. This seminiferous scale, as to the exact nature of which there has been much dispute, generally outstrips the carpellary scale in growth, and becomes woody. In pines (q.v.) it acquires a thickened woody extremity or apophysis, forming one of the diamond-shaped tessellae on the surface of the unripe cone. In the firs (Abies) carpellary and seminiferous scales alike fall away from the axis when the seed is ripe; in the spruces (Picea) the cones fall whole; and in pines they persist on the tree, only opening to drop their seeds.