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1 (in botany) A reproductive structure occurring in gymnosperms, known technically as a strobilus. It consists of sporophylls bearing the spore-producing sporangia. Gymnosperms produce different male and female cones. The large woody female cones of pines, firs, and other conifers are made up of structures called ovuliferous scales, which bear the ovules. Cones are also produced by clubmosses and horsetails.

2 (in animal anatomy) A type of light-sensitive receptor cell, found in the retinas of all diurnal vertebrates. Cones are specialized to transmit information about colour (see colour vision) and are responsible for the visual acuity of the eye. They function best in bright light. They are not evenly distributed on the retina, being concentrated in the fovea and absent on the margin of the retina. Compare rod.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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