The picture above shows a female pine cone. Pine trees are gymnosperms because they have a seed with no outer coating. Gymnosperm basically means “naked seed”. Gymnosperms like pine trees (which are conifers) use cones as a means of reproduction. The cone is the gametophyte of the plant. The reason why the cone above is a female is because the male cone is smaller and thinner, while the female cone is larger. Also, male cones are higher up on the tree, and female cones are further down on the tree. This is because male cones release pollen which floats down to the female cone’s seeds and fertilizes them. Within the female cone, the zygote becomes an embryo surrounded by a seed which is then released.