The older types of Gymnosperms are inelastic and dying out.
The class, though clearly allied to the typical Gymnosperms, may be kept distinct for the present on account of the relatively primitive characters shown in the anatomy and morphology, and may be provisionally defined as follows: plants resembling Ferns in habit and in many anatomical characters, but bearing seeds of a Cycadean type; seeds and microsporangia borne on fronds only slightly modified as compared with the vegetative leaves.
32, A, it appears that each ovule was borne terminally, on an extremely short axillary shoot, as in Taxus among recent Gymnosperms. The ovule consists of an integument (regarded by some writers as double) enclosing the nucellus.
The presence of Cordaitean leaves indicates that Gymnosperms of high organization already existed, a striking fact, showing the immense antiquity of this class compared with the angiospermous flowering plants.