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The ConiferBase

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The ConiferBase is the American Conifer Society’s proprietary online conifer database, loaded with conifer information, photographs, growth rates, hardiness statistics and historical data. It’s a vibrant, living reference. We encourage members to add your own pictures, offer commentary and suggest edits to the individual conifer records. This is, after all, our community resource.

As you explore the listings, you will find records that are either sparse or empty. Since beginning work on this project in 2012, we have added and refined 1000s of records of cultivars which are prominent and popular in the international nursery trade. Our work will never be done, as new plants are introduced and others fall out of favor. We will thus remove any plants that are obviously no longer in cultivation, or have no photographic evidence to support their existence. It is our hope that other reference editors will follow this lead.

If you’re new to conifer gardening or are perhaps feeling overwhelmed, we recommend that you read the articles below. Hopefully, they’ll whet your appetite and spark your imagination. A well-appointed conifer garden is a joy 365 days a year.

If you notice a record that’s either missing, inaccurate, or lacking in detail, please send a message to conifereditor@conifersociety.org. The power of the ConiferBase is that it is instantly editable and always relevant. No book can make that claim.

Click here to learn more about becoming a member of the American Conifer Society or make a tax-deductible donation. As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, we continue to exist and grow only through your membership dues and donations. If you use and enjoy this reference, please consider donating toward its progress and upkeep.

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Learn About Conifers

Designing with Conifers

The uses of conifers in the landscape are limited only by the imagination. The strong silhouettes of many compact, slow-growing conifers can accent a corner of a garden bed, frame a doorway or add winter interest to perennial and annual flower beds. Learn More

Conifer Videos

Our Society’s mission is the development, conservation and propagation of conifers – with an emphasis on those that are dwarf or unusual -and educating the public about these fascinating trees. We hope these videos will inspire you to get involved with conifers – and The American Conifer Society! Learn More

USDA Zones

Using records of the lowest winter temperatures across the country, the United States Department of Agriculture maps that data against a plant’s known cold hardiness to create a color-coded picture of the country divided into 11 zones. These zones are used to guide the purchases of plants that will survive winter temperatures in your geographical area. Learn More

Conifer Sizes and Growth Rates

ACS has established four size categories for conifers- Miniature, Dwarf, Intermediate and Large – to aid in landscape design. Once established, these plants’ growth may vary some due to cultural, climatic and geographical conditions but these registered cultivars have, through trials and succeeding generations, maintained their described size. The individual plant records in the ACS Conifer Database contain this information. Learn More

Conifer Shapes

Conifer does not necessarily mean conical. These trees range in size and shape from giants of the forest to plants that are as flat as a pancake (i.e.,Juniperus horizontalis ‘Pancake’.) Their different growth habits give landscape designers many elements to work with. Learn More

Conifer Colors

While most conifers exhibit some shade of green, these hues can change during the season in many cultivars. Some exhibit various patterns of yellow and creamy white variegation in their needles but the new growth, the bark and the cones provide other color interest. Learn More

Division Hierarchy

Conifers, like all living things, have been grouped by scientists to better understand their place in the world. Plant taxonomy attempts to identify and classify all plants in relation to all other plants by an acute examination of a plant’s individual characteristics. However, taxonomy is a science always in flux as new technologies allow for the examination of plants at microscopic — even molecular — levels. Learn More

Conifer Origins

According to paleobotanists who study fossil plants, the first conifers appeared over 300 million years ago in parts of Europe and North America. However, most taxonomists working on plant nomenclature today are more concerned with the written record of a species or cultivar and that may only go back to the 19th century and the great era of plant exploration. Learn More

Horticultural Statuses

As noted elsewhere, nomenclature is a hotly debated topic in plant taxonomy, a science that, itself, is always in flux. More as a courtesy to professionals, the Conifer Database records contain a data field, called Status, that indicates the state of a plant’s provenance with a botanical registry. Learn More

Additional Resources
This is available to logged-in ACS members only. If you are a member and wish to view this information, please log in. If you are having problems logging in, please email webeditor@conifersociety.org. If you’re not a member, join! We’d love to share conifer lore with you.

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