Economic importance of gymnosperms?

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The gymnosperms are the economically important plant that is distributed around the world. Some of them are:

  1. It is used as food in many countries. The stem pith or seed kernel of the Cycas plants are used as source of starch; the stem pith is commonly called the sago. It is obtained from Cycas circinalis, Cycas revoluta. The unfolded succulent leaves of certain Cycas plants are cooked and eaten. Seed of many species of Pinus are also used as food.
  2. The nature of coniferous wood makes it popular in the wood industry. That is it is straight and light coloured and light weighted too.it is useful for cabinet and furniture making, it is used in the sound board of musical instrument. Species of Agathis are used as timber for making the ply wood.
  3. The conifers are used as a source of pulp in the paper industry. Superior quality writing papers and printing papers is manufactured from the Abies whereas the craft paper from the Pinus.
  4. They important plant for the garden. Picea and Abies are used as Christmas tree. Juniperius chinensis, Pinus, Taxus and Ginkgo plants are used as ornamental plants.
  5. Many drugs are obtained from the different members of the gymnosperms. The alkaloid Ephedrine is obtained from the Ephedra sinica and some other species. It is an important ingredient in the cough syrup since it helps in the bronchial dilatation. The leaves extract of Ginkgo biloba are used for the treatment of cerebral insufficiency. The species Taxus baccata used in asthma, bronchitis and for indigestion. The juice of the young leaves is used for vomiting blood.
  6. Canada balsam is the resin obtained from the Abies balsamae which have great refractive index and it does not crystallize. So it is used as a good mounting medium.
  7. Amber is a fossil resin which is yellow brown, hard. It is used in the medicine and x-ray therapy. The blood does not coagulate when it is kept in an amber container.
  8. Essential oils are extracted from the Cedrus deodaria is used for the production of perfumes and the scenting soaps.
  9. Resins which are plant exudates are mainly obtained from the conifers. The resins are used in paper sizing, medicines, ointments etc. The inferior quality of these resins are used for the production of the laundry soap, printing ink, oil, insulators, adhesives, insecticides, disinfectants and shoe polish.
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