With the term needle-like, in the botanical sciences, we mean those plants, shrubs or trees, which have leaves with a linear and needle-like conformation, called needles.
The holly-leaved trees are opposed to the broad-leaved trees (which mostly have broad leaves), such as elms and oaks.
The holly-leaved trees are those plants that have adapted to a colder climate so that, starting from the 800 m altitude in the Alps and from the 1,200 m in the Apennines, the broad-leaved trees are gradually replaced by the holly-leaved trees, i.e. firs, pines, junipers and larches, which on the other hand could also be defined as “narrow leaf plants”.
The needle-trees have in fact evolved to a less forgiving environment with this showy morphological transformation of the leaves: the needles, 1-2 mm wide and 1 to 12 cm long, flexible but robust, represent the most suitable surface to bear the weight of the snow . In fact, they allow tiny accumulations, bend without breaking under the weight of the flakes and finally straighten suddenly elastically, after having freed themselves from a soma that has become excessive for the tiny needle. It thus represents the only leaf shape capable of resisting all year round on the branches of plants regularly exposed, during the winter, to the white blanket. In addition, many needle-like plants are also evergreen, with the exception of the larch (Larix decidua) which is deciduous.
Although it is a very generic word with no scientific value, many use it to indicate the plants of the pinophyta division, commonly known as conifers.