Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
Penny (United States coin)
The United States one-cent coin called the penny, is a unit of currency equaling one one-hundredth of a United States dollar. The cent's symbol is ¢, its obverse has featured the profile of President Abraham Lincoln since 1909, the centennial of his birth. From 1959 to 2008, the reverse featured the Lincoln Memorial. Four different reverse designs in 2009 honored Lincoln's 200th birthday and a new, "permanent" reverse – the Union Shield – was introduced in 2010; the coin is 0.75 inches in diameter and 0.0598 inches in thickness. Its weight has varied, depending upon the composition of metals used in its production; the U. S. Mint's official name for the coin is "cent" and the U. S. Treasury's official name is "one cent piece"; the colloquial term penny derives from the British coin of the same name, the pre-decimal version of which had a similar place in the British system. In American English, pennies is the plural form. In the early 2010s the price of metal used to make pennies rose to a noticeable cost to the mint which peaked at a $0.02 for $0.01 ratio.
This pushed the mint to look for alternative metals again for the coin, brought the penny debate into more focus. There are no firm plans to eliminate the penny as arguments for and against the coin continue to be debated. In honor of Lincoln's 200th anniversary, special 2009 cents were minted for collectors in the same composition as the 1909 coins; the isotope composition of early coins spanning the period 1828 to 1843 reflects the copper from Cornish ores from England, while coins after 1850 reflect the Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan ores, a finding consistent with historical records. In 1943, at the peak of World War II, zinc-coated steel cents were made for a short time because of war demands for copper. A few copper cents from 1943 were produced from the 1942 planchets remaining in the bins; some 1944 steel cents have been confirmed. From 1944 to 1946, salvaged ammunition shells made their way into the minting process, it was not uncommon to see coins featuring streaks of brass or having a darker finish than other issues.
During the early 1970s, the price of copper rose to the point where the cent contained one cent's worth of copper. This led the Mint to test alternative metals, including aluminum and bronze-clad steel. Aluminum was chosen, over 1.5 million of these pennies were struck and ready for public release before being rejected. The proposed aluminum pennies were rejected for two reasons: vending machine owners complained the coins would cause mechanical problems. One aluminum cent was donated to the Smithsonian Institution; the cent's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in the coin started to rise above one cent. Some 1982 pennies used the 97.5% zinc composition, while others used the 95% copper composition. With the exception of 2009 bicentennial cents minted for collectors, United States cents minted after 1982 have been zinc with copper plating. In Fiscal Year 2013, the average one-cent piece minted cost the U. S. Mint 1.83 cents, down from 2.41 cents apiece in FY 2011. The bronze and copper cents can be distinguished from the newer zinc cents by dropping the coins on a solid surface.
The predominantly zinc coins make a lower-pitched "clunk", while the copper coins produce a higher-pitched ringing sound. In addition, a full 50-cent roll of pre-1982/3 coins weighs 5.4 oz compared to a post-1982–83 roll which weighs 4.4 oz. Mintage figures for the penny can be found at United States cent mintage figures; the coin has gone through several designs over its two-hundred-year time frame. Until 1857 it was about the size of the current U. S. dollar coins. The following types of cents have been produced: Large cents: Flowing Hair Chain 1793 Flowing Hair Wreath 1793 Liberty Cap 1793–1796 Draped bust 1796–1807 Classic Head 1808–1814 Coronet 1816–1839 Braided Hair 1839–1857, 1868 Small cents: Flying Eagle cent Indian Head cent Lincoln cent Lincoln Wheat Lincoln Memorial Lincoln Bicentennial 4 reverse designs Lincoln Union Shield Throughout its history, the Lincoln cent has featured several typefaces for the date, but most of the digits have been old-style numerals, except with the 4 and 8 neither ascending nor descending.
The only significant divergence is that the small 3 was non-descending in the early history, before switching to a descending, large 3 for just one year in 1934 and permanently in 1943. The digit 5 was small and non-descending up to 1945 from 1950 and on, it became a large descending 5. From 1959 until 2008, the Lincoln Memorial was shown on the reverse of the United States cent; because the Lincoln Memorial was shown in sufficient detail to discern the statue of Lincoln on the reverse of cent, Abraham Lincoln was at that time the only person to be depicted on both the obverse and reverse of the same United States coin. In 1999, the New Jersey state quarter was released, which depicts George Washington on both sides, crossing the Delaware River on the reverse side and in profile on the obverse. (The state quarter for South Dakota, released in 2006 features Washington on both sides: the typical profile on the obverse, Washington within Mount Rushmore on the re
Cupressaceae is a conifer family, the cypress family, with worldwide distribution. The family includes 27–30 genera, which include the junipers and redwoods, with about 130–140 species in total, they are monoecious, subdioecious or dioecious shrubs up to 116 m tall. The bark of mature trees is orange- to red- brown and of stringy texture flaking or peeling in vertical strips, but smooth, scaly or hard and square-cracked in some species; the leaves are arranged either spirally, in decussate pairs or in decussate whorls of three or four, depending on the genus. On young plants, the leaves are needle-like, becoming small and scale-like on mature plants of many genera. Old leaves are not shed individually, but in small sprays of foliage; these leaves fall off individually when the bark starts to flake. Most are evergreen with the leaves persisting 2–10 years, but three genera are deciduous or include deciduous species; the seed cones are either woody, leathery, or berry-like and fleshy, with one to several ovules per scale.
The bract scale and ovuliferous scale are fused together except at the apex, where the bract scale is visible as a short spine on the ovuliferous scale. As with the foliage, the cone scales are arranged spirally, decussate or whorled, depending on the genus; the seeds are small and somewhat flattened, with two narrow wings, one down each side of the seed. The seedlings have two cotyledons, but in some species up to six; the pollen cones are more uniform in structure across the family, 1–20 mm long, with the scales again arranged spirally, decussate or whorled, depending on the genus. Cupressaceae is a distributed conifer family, with a near-global range in all continents except for Antarctica, stretching from 71°N in arctic Norway south to 55°S in southernmost Chile, while Juniperus indica reaches 5200 m altitude in Tibet, the highest altitude reported for any woody plant. Most habitats on land are occupied, with the exceptions of polar tundra and tropical lowland rainforest. Despite the wide overall distribution, many genera and species show restricted relictual distributions, many are endangered species.
The family Cupressaceae is now regarded as including the Taxodiaceae treated as a distinct family, but now shown not to differ from the Cupressaceae in any consistent characteristics. The one exception in the former Taxodiaceae is the genus Sciadopitys, genetically distinct from the rest of the Cupressaceae, is now treated in its own family, Sciadopityaceae; the family is divided into seven subfamilies, based on genetic and morphological analysis as follows: A 2010 study of Actinostrobus and Callitris places the three species of Actinostrobus within an expanded Callitris based on analysis of 42 morphological and anatomical characters. The family is notable for including the largest and stoutest individual trees in the world, the second longest lived species in the world: Largest - General Sherman, a giant sequoia with 1486.9 m³ trunk volume Tallest - Hyperion, a coast redwood, 115.55 m tall Stoutest - Árbol del Tule, a Montezuma cypress or ahuehuete, 14.05 m diameter Second oldest - Sarv-e Abarkuh, a Mediterranean cypress estimated to be 4000 years old In addition to the above, many other members of the family list among the tallest, most massive and most long-lived tree species in the world, including Taiwania, western redcedar, incense cedar, Tibetan cypress, Formosan cypress among others.
Many of the species are important timber sources in the genera Calocedrus, Cryptomeria, Cupressus, Sequoia and Thuja. These and several other genera are important in horticulture. Junipers are among the most important evergreen shrubs and small evergreen trees, with hundreds of cultivars selected, including plants with blue, grey, or yellow foliage. Chamaecyparis and Thuja provide hundreds of dwarf cultivars as well as trees, including Lawson's cypress and the infamous hybrid Leyland cypress. Dawn redwood is planted as an ornamental tree because of its excellent horticultural qualities, rapid growth and status as a living fossil. Giant sequoia is a popular ornamental tree and is grown for timber. Giant sequoia, Leyland cypress, Arizona cypress are grown to a small extent as Christmas trees. Sugi is the national tree of Japan, ahuehuete the national tree of Mexico. Coast redwood and giant sequoia were jointly designated the state tree of California and are famous California tourist att
In botany, an evergreen is a plant that has leaves throughout the year that are always green. This is true if the plant retains its foliage only in warm climates, contrasts with deciduous plants, which lose their foliage during the winter or dry season. There are many different kinds of both trees and shrubs. Evergreens include: most species of conifers, but not all live oak, "ancient" gymnosperms such as cycads most angiosperms from frost-free climates, such as eucalypts and rainforest trees clubmosses and relativesThe Latin binomial term sempervirens, meaning "always green", refers to the evergreen nature of the plant, for instance Cupressus sempervirens Lonicera sempervirens Sequoia sempervirens Leaf persistence in evergreen plants varies from a few months to several decades. Deciduous trees shed their leaves as an adaptation to a cold or dry/wet season. Evergreen trees do lose leaves, but each tree loses its leaves and not all at once. Most tropical rainforest plants are considered to be evergreens, replacing their leaves throughout the year as the leaves age and fall, whereas species growing in seasonally arid climates may be either evergreen or deciduous.
Most warm temperate climate plants are evergreen. In cool temperate climates, fewer plants are evergreen, with a predominance of conifers, as few evergreen broadleaf plants can tolerate severe cold below about −26 °C. In areas where there is a reason for being deciduous, e.g. a cold season or dry season, being evergreen is an adaptation to low nutrient levels. Deciduous trees lose nutrients. In warmer areas, species such as some pines and cypresses grow on disturbed ground. In Rhododendron, a genus with many broadleaf evergreens, several species grow in mature forests but are found on acidic soil where the nutrients are less available to plants. In taiga or boreal forests, it is too cold for the organic matter in the soil to decay so the nutrients in the soil are less available to plants, thus favouring evergreens. In temperate climates, evergreens can reinforce their own survival; these conditions favour the growth of more evergreens and make it more difficult for deciduous plants to persist.
In addition, the shelter provided by existing evergreen plants can make it easier for younger evergreen plants to survive cold and/or drought. Semi-deciduous Helen Ingersoll. "Evergreens". Encyclopedia Americana
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
Carl Linnaeus known after his ennoblement as Carl von Linné, was a Swedish botanist and zoologist who formalised binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms. He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy". Many of his writings were in Latin, his name is rendered in Latin as Carolus Linnæus. Linnaeus was born in the countryside of Småland in southern Sweden, he received most of his higher education at Uppsala University and began giving lectures in botany there in 1730. He lived abroad between 1735 and 1738, where he studied and published the first edition of his Systema Naturae in the Netherlands, he returned to Sweden where he became professor of medicine and botany at Uppsala. In the 1740s, he was sent on several journeys through Sweden to find and classify plants and animals. In the 1750s and 1760s, he continued to collect and classify animals and minerals, while publishing several volumes, he was one of the most acclaimed scientists in Europe at the time of his death. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau sent him the message: "Tell him I know no greater man on earth."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote: "With the exception of Shakespeare and Spinoza, I know no one among the no longer living who has influenced me more strongly." Swedish author August Strindberg wrote: "Linnaeus was in reality a poet who happened to become a naturalist." Linnaeus has been called Princeps botanicorum and "The Pliny of the North". He is considered as one of the founders of modern ecology. In botany and zoology, the abbreviation L. is used to indicate Linnaeus as the authority for a species' name. In older publications, the abbreviation "Linn." is found. Linnaeus's remains comprise the type specimen for the species Homo sapiens following the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, since the sole specimen that he is known to have examined was himself. Linnaeus was born in the village of Råshult in Småland, Sweden, on 23 May 1707, he was the first child of Christina Brodersonia. His siblings were Anna Maria Linnæa, Sofia Juliana Linnæa, Samuel Linnæus, Emerentia Linnæa, his father taught him Latin as a small child.
One of a long line of peasants and priests, Nils was an amateur botanist, a Lutheran minister, the curate of the small village of Stenbrohult in Småland. Christina was the daughter of the rector of Samuel Brodersonius. A year after Linnaeus's birth, his grandfather Samuel Brodersonius died, his father Nils became the rector of Stenbrohult; the family moved into the rectory from the curate's house. In his early years, Linnaeus seemed to have a liking for plants, flowers in particular. Whenever he was upset, he was given a flower, which calmed him. Nils spent much time in his garden and showed flowers to Linnaeus and told him their names. Soon Linnaeus was given his own patch of earth. Carl's father was the first in his ancestry to adopt a permanent surname. Before that, ancestors had used the patronymic naming system of Scandinavian countries: his father was named Ingemarsson after his father Ingemar Bengtsson; when Nils was admitted to the University of Lund, he had to take on a family name. He adopted the Latinate name Linnæus after a giant linden tree, lind in Swedish, that grew on the family homestead.
This name was spelled with the æ ligature. When Carl was born, he was named Carl Linnæus, with his father's family name; the son always spelled it with the æ ligature, both in handwritten documents and in publications. Carl's patronymic would have been Nilsson, as in Carl Nilsson Linnæus. Linnaeus's father began teaching him basic Latin and geography at an early age; when Linnaeus was seven, Nils decided to hire a tutor for him. The parents picked a son of a local yeoman. Linnaeus did not like him, writing in his autobiography that Telander "was better calculated to extinguish a child's talents than develop them". Two years after his tutoring had begun, he was sent to the Lower Grammar School at Växjö in 1717. Linnaeus studied going to the countryside to look for plants, he reached the last year of the Lower School when he was fifteen, taught by the headmaster, Daniel Lannerus, interested in botany. Lannerus gave him the run of his garden, he introduced him to Johan Rothman, the state doctor of Småland and a teacher at Katedralskolan in Växjö.
A botanist, Rothman broadened Linnaeus's interest in botany and helped him develop an interest in medicine. By the age of 17, Linnaeus had become well acquainted with the existing botanical literature, he remarks in his journal that he "read day and night, knowing like the back of my hand, Arvidh Månsson's Rydaholm Book of Herbs, Tillandz's Flora Åboensis, Palmberg's Serta Florea Suecana, Bromelii Chloros Gothica and Rudbeckii Hortus Upsaliensis...."Linnaeus entered the Växjö Katedralskola in 1724, where he studied Greek, Hebrew and mathematics, a curriculum designed for boys preparing for the priesthood. In the last year at the gymnasium, Linnaeus's father visited to ask the professors how his son's studies were progressing. Rothman believed otherwise; the doctor offered to have Linnaeus live with his family in Växjö and to teach him physiology and botany. Nils accepted this offer. Rothman showed Linnaeus that botany was a serious sub
A cone is an organ on plants in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures. The familiar woody cone is the female cone; the male cones, which produce pollen, are herbaceous and much less conspicuous at full maturity. The name "cone" derives from the fact; the individual plates of a cone are known as scales. The male cone is structurally similar across all conifers, differing only in small ways from species to species. Extending out from a central axis are microsporophylls. Under each microsporophyll is several microsporangia; the female cone contains ovules. The female cone structure varies more markedly between the different conifer families, is crucial for the identification of many species of conifers; the members of the pine family have cones. These pine cones the woody female cones, are considered the "archetypal" tree cones; the female cone has two types of scale: the bract scales, the seed scales, one subtended by each bract scale, derived from a modified branchlet. On the upper-side base of each seed scale are two ovules that develop into seeds after fertilization by pollen grains.
The bract scales develop first, are conspicuous at the time of pollination. The scales open temporarily to receive gametophytes close during fertilization and maturation, re-open again at maturity to allow the seed to escape. Maturation takes 6–8 months from pollination in most Pinaceae genera, but 12 months in cedars and 18–24 months in most pines; the cones open either by the seed scales flexing back when they dry out, or by the cones disintegrating with the seed scales falling off. The cones are conic, cylindrical or ovoid, small to large, from 2–60 cm long and 1–20 cm broad. After ripening, the opening of non-serotinous pine cones is associated with their moisture content—cones are open when dry and closed when wet; this assures that the small, wind disseminated seeds will be dispersed during dry weather, thus, the distance traveled from the parent tree will be enhanced. A pine cone will go through many cycles of opening and closing during its life span after seed dispersal is complete; this process occurs with older cones while attached to branches and after the older cones have fallen to the forest floor.
The condition of fallen pine cones is a crude indication of the forest floor's moisture content, an important indication of wildfire risk. Closed cones indicate damp conditions; as a result of this, pine cones have been used by people in temperate climates to predict dry and wet weather hanging a harvested pine cone from some string outside to measure the humidity of the air. Members of the Araucariaceae have the bract and seed scales fused, have only one ovule on each scale; the cones are spherical or nearly so, large to large, 5–30 cm diameter, mature in 18 months. In Agathis, the seeds are winged and separate from the seed scale, but in the other two genera, the seed is wingless and fused to the scale; the cones of the Podocarpaceae are similar in function, though not in development, to those of the Taxaceae, being berry-like with the scales modified, evolved to attract birds into dispersing the seeds. In most of the genera, two to ten or more scales are fused together into a swollen, brightly coloured, edible fleshy aril.
Only one or two scales at the apex of the cone are fertile, each bearing a single wingless seed, but in Saxegothaea several scales may be fertile. The fleshy scale complex is 0.5–3 cm long, the seeds 4–10 mm long. In some genera, the scales are minute and not fleshy, but the seed coat develops a fleshy layer instead, the cone having the appearance of one to three small plums on a central stem; the seeds have a hard coat evolved to resist digestion in the bird's stomach. Members of the cypress family differ in that the bract and seed scales are fused, with the bract visible as no more than a small lump or spine on the scale; the botanical term galbulus is sometimes used instead of strobilus for members of this family. The female cones have one to 20 ovules on each scale, they have peltate scales, as opposed to the imbricate cones described above, though some have imbricate scales. The cones are small, 0.3–6 cm or 1⁄8–2 3⁄8 inches long, spherical or nearly so, like those of Nootka cypress, while others, such as western redcedar and California incense-cedar, are narrow.
The scales are arranged either spirally, or in decussate whorls of two or three four. The genera with spiral scale arrangement were treated in a separate family in the past. In most of the genera, the cones are woody and the seeds have two narrow wings, but in three genera, the seeds are wingless, in Juniperus, the cones are fleshy and