evergreen, term commonly used as synonymous with conifer and applied also to all those broad-leaved plants that bear green leaves throughout the year. Of the latter, most are plants of the tropics, subtropics, and other areas where the growing season is prolonged (e.g., New Zealand and the Pacific Northwest of the United States). In colder climates various broad-leaved shrubs (e.g., box, holly, and members of the heath family) are evergreen. Some broadleaf evergreens shed all their leaves for a brief period; the rest lose them continually, producing new leaves as the old ones fall. The term "half-evergreen" is used for deciduous plants with relatively persistent leaves.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.