Conifers are often more drought and cold tolerant than deciduous trees, because the leaves are needle-like with a small surface area and often they are covered in wax to reduce water loss. They are usually evergreen. Conifer forests replace the deciduous forests, reaching far north to the arctic tundras. 

Abies - Firs

Abies  is a genus in the family  Pinaceae. It is a large genus of tall trees native to mountains in the northern hemisphere. One of the distinctive characteristics of the genus is their soft needle-like leaves that all face upward. Firs are shade tolerant and can grow in any soil. Most species grow in a continental climate, so  winter warm spells could cause damage in young shoots. 


  • Abies concolor 

  • Abies lasiocarpa

    • var. arizonica

Chamaecyparis - False cypress

Chamaecyparis is a genus in the  Cupressaceae family. The genus contains seven species native to E-Asia and NW-America. They grow in shaded coastal woods with ample precipitation. Therefore they need sheltered places and moist soil.


  • Chamaecyparis lawsoniana

  • Chamaecyparis nootkatensis

Juniperus - Junipers

Juniperus is a genus of 60 species in the family Cupressaceae distributed around the northern hemisphere. They are slow growing, wind tolerant shrubs or trees that can tolerate dry, poor soil and prefer a sunny growing position. One species is native to Iceland.(*)


Larix - Larches

Larix is a genus in the Pinaceae family that includes 10 species, most of which grow in a continental climate. They have soft needle-like leaves that drop in the fall.


Picea - Spruce

Picea is a genus of  35 species in the family Pinaceae. They are large trees distributed around conifer forests in the northern hemisphere. 


Pinus - Pines

Pinus is a large genus in the Pinaceae family with over 100 species. They are distributed around the northern hemisphere. Their defining characteristic is long needles which often grow in clusters, usually 2-5 needles per cluster. 


Taxus - Yews

Taxus is a small genus in the Taxaceae family. All species of the genus are closely related and some botanists want to categorize them all as  subspecies of T. baccata.  Others describe 9 species. Yews have flat, dark green, needle-like leaves and their seeds are born in cones that resemble open red berries, each containing one seed. All parts of the plants are toxic, including the seeds. 


Thuja - Arborvitaes

Thuja is a small genus of 5 species in the Cupressaceae family, native to Asia and N-America. They are evergreen shrubs or trees with  flat leaves on fan shaped, flat branches. 


  • Thuja koraiensis


Thujopsis​ is a genus in the Cupressaceae family, closely related to arborvitaes. The genus only contains one species which is native to Japan. 


Tsuga - Hemlocks

Tsuga is a genus in the family Pinaceae  which includes 10 species native to N-America and Asia. They have short, needle-like leaves and drooping top shoots. They are fairly shade tolerant. 


  • Tsuga heterophylla