What Is the Economic Importance of Gymnosperms?

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Gymnosperms are widely used in construction, furniture-building, paper-making and urban planning, as well as providing important solvents for industrial and home use, cleaning agents, and food. Gymnosperms are plants that do not flower and instead produce bare seeds or cones, as with the familiar pine tree.

Pine trees, of course, are of enormous economic importance. They grow quickly, and their wood is used to manufacture cheap construction materials such as particle board and plywood. Whole pines were the traditional material for ship masts, and their soft unprocessed wood continues to be used in woodworking. It is also a common firewood due to the low cost. Pulped pines produce the majority of paper manufactured.

Crude pine resin is commercially important. Rosin and oil of turpentine derived from the crude resin are used for applications ranging from oiling violin strings to making glue and soap on an industrial scale. Turpentine also has medical applications as an antispasmodic, a diuretic, a stimulant and an antibacterial.

Finally, pine nuts are used as food, the most famous recipe including them being pesto sauce.

Aside from pines, a gymnosperm called ginkgo is planted throughout major American cities as a street tree because it is resistant to pollution. Products made from ginkgo seeds are promoted by beverage manufacturers for their supposed neurological properties, said to promote alertness and memory.

Firs are used for their strong and attractive wood, which is relatively cheap due to the trees’ rapid growth.

Spruce is important to the music industry as spruce wood is used to make high-quality soundboards for violins and guitars.