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Gymnosperms are plants that have their seed exposed, usually in cones, or at the ends of stalks. The name gymnosperm means "naked seeds". The seeds eject from their cone or stalk end and germinate when they land in a spot conducive for seed germination. Angiosperms are the other seed-bearing plants, but they have their seeds enclosed in flowers or fruits. Together, the gymnosperms and angiosperms form a group of plants known as "spermatophytes", or "seed-bearers". Examples of gymnosperms are pine trees, spruce trees, and fir trees. All these trees are part of a subgroup called conifers, which means "cone-bearing". Pine trees, specifically, produce seeds in pine cones, which open up and the seeds drift out like little helicopters, because they have a fibrous, featherlike attachment to the seed which enables it to gently settle to the ground. Pine trees will sprout and grow in almost any type of yard or forest soil, and are a good example of a gymnosperms ability to germinate.
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