Gymnosperms are a group of vascular plants whose seeds are not enclosed by a ripened ovary (fruit). Gymnosperms are distinguished from the other major group of seed plants, the angiosperms, whose seeds are surrounded by an ovary wall. The seeds of many gymnosperms (literally, "naked seed") are borne in cones and are not visible. Taxonomists now recognise four distinct divisions of extant gymnospermous plants (coniferophyta, cycadophyta, ginkgophyta, and gnetophyta).

(12 Dec 1998)

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