The branchlets of the cedar take the same direction as the branches, and the foliage is very dense.
Both bear their round or ovoid male catkins at the ends of the slender terminal branchlets; the ovoid cones, either terminal or on short lateral twigs, have thick woody scales dilated at the extremity, with a broad disk depressed in the centre and usually furnished with a short spine; at the base of the scales are from three to seven ovules, which become reversed or partially so by compression, ripening into small angular seed with a narrow wing-like expansion.
The members of the genus Larix are distinguished from the firs, with which they were formerly placed, by their deciduous leaves, scattered singly, as in Abies, on the young shoots of the season, but on all older branchlets growing in whorl-like tufts, each surrounding the extremity of a rudimentary or abortive branch; they differ from cedars (Cedrus), which also have the fascicles of leaves on arrested branchlets, not only in the deciduous leaves, but in the cones, the scales of which are thinner towards the apex, and are persistent, remaining attached long after the seeds are discharged.
Europaea) is, when grown in perfection, a stately tree with tall erect trunk, gradually tapering from root to summit, and horizontal branches springing at irregular intervals from the stem, and in old trees often becoming more or less drooping, but rising again towards the extremities; the branchlets or side shoots, very slender and pendulous, are pretty thickly studded with the spurs each bearing a fascicle of thirty or more narrow linear leaves, of a peculiar bright light green when they first appear in the spring, but becoming of a deeper hue when mature.
When springing up among rocks or on ledges, the stem sometimes becomes much curved, and, with its spreading boughs and pendent branchlets, often forms a striking and picturesque object in alpine passes and steep ravines.
On the French Alps a sweet exudation is found on the small branchlets of young larches in June and July, resembling manna in taste and laxative properties, and known as Manna de Briancon or Manna Brigantina; it occurs in small whitish irregular granular masses, which are removed in the morning before they are too much dried by the sun; this manna seems to differ little in composition from the sap of the tree, which also contains mannite; its cathartic powers are weaker than those of the manna of the manna ash (Fraximus ornus), but it is employed in France for the same purposes.
It is usually divided into branches and branchlets, bearing some resemblance to a miniature shrub.
The great forest-tree has a shoot, which in the course perhaps of hundreds of years, has developed a wide-spreading system of trunk and branches, bearing on the ultimate twigs or branchlets innumerable leaves, while beneath the soil a widely-branching root-system covers an area of corresponding extent.
The narrow, pointed leaves are spirally arranged and persist for four or five years; the cones are small, globose and borne at the ends of the branchlets, the scales are thickened at the extremity and divided into sharply pointed lobes, three to five seeds are borne on each scale.
The flat branchlets of Cupressus, Thuja (arbor vitae), Thujopsis dolabrata (Japanese arbor vitae) are characteristic of certain types of conifers; in some cases the horizontal extension of the branches induces a dorsiventral structure.
Three sporangia borne on branchlets of the rachis.
In the swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) the tree assumes a rich brown colour in the autumn, and sheds its leaves together with the branchlets which bear them; deciduous branches occur also in some other species, e.g.