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Pinus Genus (Pine)

121 Species with 781 Trinomials

Pines are trees in the genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae. They are the only genus in the subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 124 species.

The modern English name pine derives from Latin pinus which some have traced to the Indo-European base *pīt- ‘resin’ (source of English pituitary. In the past (pre-19th century) they were often known as fir, from Old Norse fyrre, by way of Middle English firre. The Old Norse name is still used for pines in some modern north European languages, in Danish fyr, in Norwegian fura/fure/furu, Swedish fura/furu… but in modern English, fir is now restricted to fir (Abies) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga). Pine belongs to a group of seed-producing plants called gymnosperms.

Pinus densiflora, Kumgangsan ("Diamond Mountains"), North Korea, just north of the Demilitarized Zone buffer zone between North and South Korea.
Pinus densiflora, Kumgangsan (“Diamond Mountains”), North Korea, just north of the Demilitarized Zone buffer zone between North and South Korea.

Photo by yeowatzup at Flickr

Pines are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere  and have been introduced throughout most temperate and subtropical regions of the world, where they are grown as timber and cultivated as ornamental plants in parks and gardens. One species (Sumatran pine) crosses the equator in Sumatra to 2°S. In North America, they range from 66°N to 12°N. A number of introduced species have become invasive, threatening native ecosystems.

Pines are evergreen, coniferous resinous trees (or rarely shrubs) growing 3–80 m tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m tall. The smallest are Siberian dwarf pine and Potosi pinyon, and the tallest is a 268.35-foot (81.79-meter) tall ponderosa pine located in southern Oregon’s Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

The bark of most pines is thick and scaly, but some species have thin, flaking bark. The branches are produced in regular “pseudo whorls”, actually a very tight spiral but appearing like a ring of branches arising from the same point. Many pines are uninodal, producing just one such whorl of branches each year, from buds at the tip of the year’s new shoot, but others are multinodal, producing two or more whorls of branches per year. The spiral growth of branches, needles, and cone scales are arranged in Fibonacci number ratios. The new spring shoots are sometimes called “candles”; they are covered in brown or whitish bud scales and point upward at first, then later turn green and spread outward. These “candles” offer foresters a means to evaluate fertility of the soil and vigor of the trees.

Pines are long-lived, typically reaching ages of 100–1,000 years, some even more. The longest-lived is the Great Basin bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva. One individual of this species, dubbed Methuselah, is one of the world’s oldest living organisms at around 4,600 years old. This tree can be found in the White Mountains of California. An older tree, unfortunately now cut down, was dated at 4,900 years old. It was discovered in a grove beneath Wheeler Peak and it is now known as Prometheus after the Greek immortal.

Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) male inflorescence. Warsaw University Botanical Garden.
Jack pine (Pinus banksiana) male inflorescence. Warsaw University Botanical Garden.

Photo by Panek via Wikipedia

Needles, the adult leaves, which are green (photosynthetic), bundled in clusters (fascicles) of 1–6, commonly 2–5, needles together, each fascicle produced from a small bud on a dwarf shoot in the axil of a scale leaf. These bud scales often remain on the fascicle as a basal sheath. The needles persist for 1.5–40 years, depending on species. If a shoot is damaged (e.g. eaten by an animal), the needle fascicles just below the damage will generate a bud which can then replace the lost leaves.

Pines are mostly monoecious, having the male and female cones on the same tree, though a few species are sub-dioecious with individuals predominantly, but not wholly, single-sex. The male cones are small, typically 1–5 cm long, and only present for a short period (usually in spring, though autumn in a few pines), falling as soon as they have shed their pollen. The female cones take 1.5–3 years (depending on species) to mature after pollination, with actual fertilization delayed one year. At maturity the female cones are 3–60 cm long. Each cone has numerous spirally arranged scales, with two seeds on each fertile scale; the scales at the base and tip of the cone are small and sterile, without seeds. The seeds are mostly small and winged, and are anemophilous (wind-dispersed), but some are larger and have only a vestigial wing, and are bird-dispersed. At maturity, the cones usually open to release the seeds, but in some of the bird-dispersed species (e.g. whitebark pine), the seeds are only released by the bird breaking the cones open. In others, the seeds are stored in closed (“serotinous”) cones for many years until an environmental cue triggers the cones to open, releasing the seeds. The most common form of serotiny is pyriscence, in which a resin binds the cones cones shut until melted by a forest fire.

Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany
Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz 1885, Gera, Germany

Photo by Floranet via Wikipedia

Pines grow well in acid soils, some also on calcareous soils; most require good soil drainage, preferring sandy soils, but a few (e.g. Lodgepole pine) will tolerate poorly drained wet soils. A few are able to sprout after forest fires (e.g. Canary Island pine). Some species of pines (e.g. Bishop pine) need fire to regenerate, and their populations slowly decline under fire suppression regimes. Several species are adapted to extreme conditions imposed by elevation and latitude (e.g. Siberian dwarf pine, mountain pine, whitebark pine and the bristlecone pines). The pinyon pines and a number of others, notably Turkish pine and gray pine, are particularly well adapted to growth in hot, dry semi-desert climates.

The seeds are commonly eaten by birds and squirrels. Some birds, notably the Spotted Nutcracker, Clark’s Nutcracker and Pinyon Jay, are of importance in distributing pine seeds to new areas. Pine needles are sometimes eaten by some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, the Symphytan species pine sawfly, and goats.

Pines are among the most commercially important of tree species, valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that will grow in relatively dense stands, their acidic decaying needles inhibiting the sprouting of competing hardwoods. Commercial pines are grown in plantations for timber that is denser, more resinous, and therefore more durable than spruce (Picea). Pine wood is widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, paneling, floors and roofing, and the resin of some species is an important source of turpentine.

Many pine species make attractive ornamental plantings for parks and larger gardens, with a variety of dwarf cultivars being suitable for smaller spaces. Pines are also commercially grown and harvested for Christmas trees. Pine cones, the largest and most durable of all conifer cones, are craft favorites. Pine boughs, appreciated especially in wintertime for their pleasant smell and greenery, are popularly cut for decorations. A number of species are attacked by nematodes, causing pine wilt disease, which can kill some quickly. Pine needles are also used for making decorative articles like baskets, trays, pots, etc. This Native American skill is now being replicated across the world. Pine needle handicrafts are made in the US, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua and India.

Because pines have no insect or decay resistant qualities after logging, they are generally recommended for construction purposes as indoor use only (ex. indoor drywall framing). This wood left outside can be expected to last no more than 12–18 months depending on the type of climate it is exposed to. It is commonly referred to by several different names which include North American timber, SPF (spruce, pine, fir) and whitewood.

Some species have large seeds, called pine nuts, that are harvested and sold for cooking and baking. They are an important ingredient of Pesto alla genovese.

The soft, moist, white inner bark (cambium) found clinging to the woody outer bark is edible and very high in vitamins A and C. It can be eaten raw in slices as a snack or dried and ground up into a powder for use as an ersatz flour or thickener in stews, soups, and other foods, such as bark bread. Adirondack Indians got their name from the Mohawk Indian word atirú:taks, meaning “tree eaters”.

A tea made by steeping young, green pine needles in boiling water (known as “tallstrunt” in Sweden) is high in vitamins A and C.

Attributed from: Wikipedia

whitebark pine

(Pinus albicaulis)

Bristlecone Pine

(Pinus aristata)

Arizona pine

(Pinus arizonica)

Armand Pine

(Pinus armandii)

Pinus attenuata

 

Mexican white pine

(Pinus ayacahuite)

Pinus balfouriana

 

Jack pine

(Pinus banksiana)

Pinus bhutanica

 

Pinus brutia

 

Chinese Lacebark Pine

(Pinus bungeana)

Canary Pine

(Pinus canariensis)

Pinus caribaea

 

Swiss Stone Pine; Arolla Pine

(Pinus cembra)

Pinus cembroides

 

Pinus clausa

 

Shore Pine / Lodgepole Pine

(Pinus contorta)

Big Cone Pine

(Pinus coulteri)

Pinus cubensis

 

Pinus culminicola

 

Pinus dalatensis

 

Pinus densata

 

Japanese Red pine

(Pinus densiflora)

Pinus devoniana

 

Pinus douglasiana

 

Pinus durangensis

 

Pinus echinata

 

Pinyon Pine; Nut Pine

(Pinus edulis)

Pinus elliottii

 

Apache Pine

(Pinus engelmannii)

Pinus fenzeliana

 

Limber Pine

(Pinus flexilis)

Pinus gerardiana

 

Pinus glabra

 

Pinus greggii

 

Pinus hakkodensis

 

Aleppo Pine; Jerusalem Pine

(Pinus halepensis)

Pinus hartwegii

 

Bosnian Pine

(Pinus heldreichii)

Pinus henryi

 

Pinus herrerae

 

HuangShan Song [=Huangshan pine].

(Pinus hwangshanensis)

Pinus jaliscana

 

Pinus jeffreyi

 

Pinus kesiya

 

Korean pine

(Pinus koraiensis)

Pinus krempfii

 

Pinus kwantungensis

 

Sugar Pine

(Pinus lambertiana)

Pinus latteri

 

Pinus lawsonii

 

Pinus leiophylla

 

Bosnian Pine

(Pinus leucodermis)

Pinus longaeva

 

Pinus luchuensis

 

Sad Pine (Pino Triste in Spanish)

(Pinus lumholtzii)

Pinus massoniana

 

Pinus maximartinezii

 

Pinus maximinoi

 

Pinus merkusii

 

Singleleaf Piñon (or Pinyon)

(Pinus monophylla)

Montezuma Pine

(Pinus montezumae)

Western White Pine

(Pinus monticola)

Pinus morrisonicola

 

Dwarf Mountain Pine

(Pinus mugo)

Pinus muricata

 

Pinus nasu

 

Pinus nelsonii

 

Austrian Pine

(Pinus nigra)

Pinus occidentalis

 

Pinus oocarpa

 

Longleaf Pine

(Pinus palustris)

Japanese White Pine

(Pinus parviflora)

Weeping Pine

(Pinus patula)

Pinus pentaphylla

 

Macedonian Pine

(Pinus peuce)

Maritime Pine

(Pinus pinaster)

Pinus pinceana

 

Italian Stone Pine

(Pinus pinea)

Ponderosa Pine

(Pinus ponderosa)

Pinus praetermissa

 

Pinus pringlei

 

Pinus pseudostrobus

 

Japanese Stone Pine

(Pinus pumila)

Table Mountain pine

(Pinus pungens)

Pinus quadrifolia

 

Monteray Pine

(Pinus radiata)

Pinus remota

 

Red pine

(Pinus resinosa)

Pitch Pine

(Pinus rigida)

Pinus rostrata

 

Pinus roxburghii

 

Pinus rzedowskii

 

Pinus sabineana

 

Pinus serotina

 

Siberian stone pine - sometimes referred to as Pinus cembra var. siberica

(Pinus sibirica)

Pinus squamata

 

Pinus strobiformis

 

Eastern White Pine, Weymouth Pine

(Pinus strobus)

Hybrid Pine

(Pinus strobus x ayacahuite)

Scots Pine

(Pinus sylvestris)

Chinese Red Pine

(Pinus tabuliformis)

Loblolly Pine

(Pinus taeda)

Pinus taiwanensis

 

Pinus tecunumanii

 

Pinus teocote

 

Japanese Black Pine

(Pinus thunbergii)

Pinus torreyana

 

Pinus tropicalis

 

Pinus uncinata

 

Scrub Pine, Virginia Pine

(Pinus virginiana)

Himalayan Pine, Bhutan Pine

(Pinus wallichiana)

Pinus wangii

 

Pinus x densithunbergii

 

P.parviflora x P. pumila

(Pinus x hakkodensis)

Pinus x holfordiana

 

P.strobus x P. Parviflora

(Pinus x hunnewelli)

Pinus x neilreichiana

 

Pinus x rhaetica

 

Pinus x schwerinii

 

Pinus yunnanensis

 

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