Leaves play a big role in the life of trees and shrubs. They help to create and store nutrients as well as accumulate mineral components. However, in winter, when there is an acute shortage of light and therefore no food, the leaves only increase the consumption of useful components and cause excessive evaporation of moisture.
Coniferous plants, which most often grow in areas with a fairly harsh climate, are in great need of food, so do not drop their needles that act as leaves. The conifers are perfectly adapted to the cold. In the needles are concentrated in a lot of pigment chlorophyll, which converts nutrients from light. In addition, they have a small area, which significantly reduces the evaporation of much-needed moisture from their surface in winter. The needles are protected against cold weather by a special wax coating, and thanks to the substance contained in them, they do not freeze even in severe frosts. The air captured by the needles creates a kind of insulation layer around the tree.
The only coniferous plant that breaks up with its needles in winter is larch. It appeared in ancient times, when summers were very hot and winters incredibly frosty. This peculiarity of the climate led to larch dropping its needles, and there was no need to protect them from cold.