Gymnosperms are a class of vascular plants which do not product their seeds within an ovary or fruit, unlike angiosperms. These plants still produce ovules within their cones, rather than inside an ovary, which can be pollinated to produce what is called a naked seed due to its lack of protection.
The four main groups of gymnosperms include conifers, cycads, gnetophytes, and ginkgo.
Gymnosperms are often considered at a disadvantage compared to angiosperms, which have more protection to offer to their seeds. Once a gymnosperm’s seed has been blown out of the parent cone, it is left to the harsh weather that awaits it. Fortunately, all is not lost for gymnosperms: because of their woody stems, gymnosperms are able to grow much larger than other plants.« Back to Glossary Index