AskDefine | Define evergreen

Dictionary Definition

evergreen adj : (of plants and shrubs) bearing foliage throughout the year [ant: deciduous] n : a plant having foliage that persists and remains green throughout the year [syn: evergreen plant] [ant: deciduous plant]

User Contributed Dictionary



ever + green


  • (UK): /ˈɛvəgriːn/, /"Ev@gri:n/
  • (US): , /ˈɛvɚgrin/, /"Ev@`grin/


  1. Of plants, especially trees, that do not shed their leaves seasonally.
  2. Continually fresh or self-renewing; often used metaphorically.
  3. In the context of "broadcasting": Suitable for transmission at any time; not urgent or time-dependent.
    • 2001, Christopher H Sterling, John M Kittross, Stay Tuned (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 2001, p. 654)
      Another change in the news was emphasis on “evergreen” features involving attractive children or animals, parades or fireworks, as well as local developments.


Derived terms


of plants, that do not shed their leaves


  1. A tree or shrub that does not shed its leaves or needles seasonally.
  2. More specifically, a conifer tree.
  3. A television news story that can be shown at any time there is available space as it is not time-sensitive.

Derived terms


tree or shrub


  1. patents pharmaceuticals To extend the term of a patent beyond the normal legal limit, usually through repeated small modifications.
  2. To set the repayment rate of a loan at or below the interest rate, so low that the principal will never be repaid.

See also



  1. classic song, evergreen song, song that is ever popular

Extensive Definition

One additional special case exists in Welwitschia, an African gymnosperm plant which produces only two leaves, which grow continuously throughout the plant's life but gradually wear away at the apex, giving about 20–40 years' persistence of leaf tissue.
There are many different types of evergreens, both trees and shrubs, including most species of: conifers (e.g. white/scots/jack pine, red cedar, blue spruce), holly, hemlock, 'ancient' gymnosperms like cycads, rainforest trees and Eucalypts.

Reasons for being evergreen or deciduous

Deciduous trees shed their leaves usually as an adaptation to a cold season or a dry season. Most tropical rainforest plants are evergreens, replacing their leaves gradually throughout the year as the leaves age and fall, whereas species growing in seasonally arid climates may be either evergreen or deciduous. Most warm temperate climate plants are also evergreen. In cool temperate climates, fewer plants are evergreen, with a predominance of conifers, as few evergreen broadleaf plants can tolerate severe cold below about -30 °C.
In areas where there is a reason for being deciduous (e.g. a cold season or dry season), being evergreen is usually an adaptation to low nutrient levels. Deciduous trees lose nutrients whenever they lose their leaves, and they must replenish these nutrients from the soil to build new leaves. When few nutrients are available, evergreen plants have an advantage. In warmer areas, species such as some pines and cypresses grow on poor soils and disturbed ground. In Rhododendron, a genus with many broadleaf evergreens, several species grow in mature forests but are usually found on highly acidic soil where the nutrients are less available to plants. In taiga or boreal forests, it is too cold for the organic matter in the soil to decay rapidly, so the nutrients in the soil are less easily available to plants, thus favouring evergreens.
In temperate climates, evergreens can reinforce their own survival; evergreen leaf and needle litter has a higher carbon-nitrogen ratio than deciduous leaf litter, contributing to a higher soil acidity and lower soil nitrogen content. These conditions favour the growth of more evergreens and make it more difficult for deciduous plants to persist. In addition, the shelter provided by existing evergreen plants can make it easier for other evergreen plants to survive cold and/or drought.

Idiomatic use

Owing to the botanical meaning, the idiomatic term "evergreen" refers to something that perpetually renews itself, or otherwise remains steady and constant (doesn't suddenly halt or "die off", as leaves on a deciduous tree.) An evergreen market, for example, is one where there is a constant, renewed demand for an item or items, as opposed to a market which is expected to eventually saturate.


evergreen in Arabic: مستديمة الخضرة
evergreen in Catalan: Perennifoli
evergreen in Danish: Stedsegrøn
evergreen in German: Immergrüne Pflanzen
evergreen in Spanish: Perennifolio
evergreen in Esperanto: Ĉiamverdo
evergreen in French: Sempervirent
evergreen in Galician: Perennifolio
evergreen in Icelandic: Sígræn jurt
evergreen in Italian: Pianta sempreverde
evergreen in Hebrew: ירוק עד
evergreen in Dutch: Groenblijvend
evergreen in Japanese: 常緑植物
evergreen in Norwegian: Eviggrønn
evergreen in Portuguese: Folha persistente
evergreen in Russian: Вечнозелёные растения
evergreen in Simple English: Evergreen
evergreen in Swedish: Städsegrön
evergreen in Thai: ไม้ไม่ผลัดใบ
evergreen in Venetian: Senprevert
evergreen in Chinese: 常绿植物

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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