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Pine

This article is about pine trees. See also Pine email client.


Pines are a genus of the coniferous tree, Pinus, in the family Pinaceae. There are about 115 species of Pinus, though different authors accept anything between about 105 to 125 species. Pine trees are resinous and evergreen; they have needles and cones, but no flowers or fruit. Both male and female cones grow on the same trees.

They grow well in acid soils, some also on lime. A few are able to sprout after forest fires. Some species of pine need fire to germinate, and suffer under fire suppression regimes.

Pines are native to most of North America, ranging from the Arctic to Mexico and Nicaragua and the West Indies, and Eurasia, ranging from Spain and Scotland east to the Russian Far East, Japan and the Philippines, and south to northernmost Africa, the Himalaya and southeast Asia, with one species just crossing the Equator in Sumatra. They are also extensively planted in the southern hemisphere.

Pines are economically important as a source of timber. The seeds are commonly eaten by birds and squirrels, and the seeds of some species--called "pine nuts" in this case--are sold commercially for cooking and baking. The resin of some species is important as the source of turpentine.

Monterey Pine Pinus radiata[?] and other common pine species are often grown commercially as a source of pulp for papermaking. This is because they are fast-growing softwoods capable of growing in close proximity to themselves, and because their resinous needles inhibit the growth of other plants (e.g. weeds) in the area. Pine plantations are a serious fire hazard because their resin is highly flammable and almost explosive.

The family Pinaceae also includes firs, douglas-firs, larches, cedars, spruces, and hemlocks, with a total of approximately 200 species in eleven genera, all in the Northern Hemisphere except for the small extension into Sumatra.

The most common pine species in Europe include Austrian Pine[?] (also known as Black Pine, Pinus nigra), and Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris).

Cone of Norway Spruce (Picea abies) - a related genus

Shoot of Norway Spruce (Picea abies)

Young Longleaf Pines (Pinus palustris)

External links

  • Gymnosperm Families (http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus/biglist_framegymno.htm) - scroll down for Pinaceae family



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