Presented in Association with the Western New Mexico University Department
of Natural Sciences
The Gymnosperms do not have petals or flowers, but they do produce seeds. The name "Gymnosperm" means "naked seed," and refers to fact that gymnosperms bear their seeds on the margins of modified leaves or cones. There are no sealed carpels, like those that define the angiosperms. Although gymnosperms do have ovules, they do not have ovaries, pistils or stamens. Since the term "fruit" refers to a mature ovary, gymnosperms do not in botanical usage have "fruit," and the reproductive structures are referred to as cones. To differentiate between the two kinds of cones, they are sometimes referred to as "ovulate cones" and "pollen cones."