The Conifer Collection is comprised of 579 gymnosperm taxa (kinds) representing 211 species, 31 genera, and 9 families. The main tract occupies twenty-four acres (10 hectares; excludes Hemlock Hill) and is arranged to facilitate the study of cone-bearing plants. Just like flowering plants, conifers form seeds. However, instead of being enclosed in fleshy fruits, the seeds of conifers are protected in cones. These seed cones are the female reproductive structures of conifers. Conifers also have pollen-bearing cones, which are the male reproductive structures. Male and female cones can occur on the same plant or on separate plants. Accurate identification of conifers requires an examination of the cones; however, leaf (needle) characteristics are also important clues to identification.