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The phylum gnetophyta is also a gymnosperm and consists of three genera that are not closely related. There are about 70 species in total. Ephedra is the largest genus, and its plants grow in deserts. Welwitschia plants grow in the desert in southwestern Africa; they have long, thin leaves. The last genus in the phylum is the namesake called Gnetum.
Conifers have woody trunks and produce cones with seeds. They grow mostly in cold northern climates and keep their leaves throughout the year. Conifers have naked seeds that are protected by cones, and the male and female cones are produced on the same tree. The pollen cones are male and produce the pollen that is spread to the female gametophyte found inside the seed cone. Seed cones are female and contain eggs on scales that form seeds when fertilized.
Flowering plants, also called angiosperms, have male and female parts. The male parts produce pollen that is dispersed, and upon reaching the female parts produces an embryo that develops into a seed. Wind and pollinators, like bees, can pollinate these plants. Angiosperms produce flowers and fruit, and the seeds are produced and protected within this fruit. Angiosperms are divided into two groups. Monocotyledons (monocots) have one seed leaf, while dicotyledons (dicots) have two seed leaves. Monocots have parallel veins, scattered vascular tissue, and flower parts that grow in multiples of three. Dicots have net-like veins, vascular tissue in rings in the stems, flower parts that grow in multiples of 4 or 5, and are often woody. Angiosperms form the plant group most equipped to handle dry conditions, which is why they are now the most widespread plant type.
We are now living in the era of flowering plants. Evolutionarily, they are the most advanced and they make up the largest proportion of plants in the world. There are still many other diverse plant species that grow alongside them.
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