Information about: Pine

Index | Pine

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Pine. The popular name of trees of the genus Pinus, of the order Conifererae. The pines are distinguished by having persistent linear, needle-like leaves, usually in clusters of two to five in the axils of membraneous scales. The cones also afford an important ready means of distinction and classification. The Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris, is a tall, straight, hardy tree, from sixty to 100 feet high; it is a native of most parts of Europe, flowering in May and June, and having many varieties. The leaves are rigid, in pairs, somewhat waved and twisted; the lower branches are somewhat pendent; the bark is of a reddish tinge, sometimes rough and furrowed. The leaves are distinguishable from those of all other pines in which they occur in pairs by their glaucous hue, especially when young. The Scotch pine almost always occurs in masses. It is considered full grown and fit to be cut down for timber in fifty or sixty years; but in the north of Scotland, where pine forests grew to perfection in former times, the tree continued to increase in bulk for three or four centuries. The tree is most abundant in the north of Europe. There are extensive forests of it in Russia, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Vosges. In Scotland it grows at the height of 2,700 feet on the Grampians. The Corsican pine grows to a height of from eighty to 100 feet, and in the island of Corsica it is said to reach an altitude of 140 to 150 feet. The pinaster, or cluster pine, is indigenous to the south of Europe, to the west of Asia, the Himalayas, and, it seems, even to China. It is a large, handsome, pyramidal tree, varying from forty to sixty feet in height. Its cones point upward, in star-like clusters, whence the name of pin aster or star pine. In France, especially between Bayonne and Bordeaux, it covers immense tracts of barren sand, in which it has been planted to prevent the sand from drifting. The stone pine is a lofty tree in the south of Europe, where it is a native. Its spreading head forms a kind of parasol; the trunk is fifty or sixty feet high, and clear of branches. In Britain the stone pine seldom exceeds the size of a large bush, although specimens have reached a height of thirty and forty feet. The Cembran pine is a native of Switzerland and Siberia. The red Canadian pine, Pinus resinosa, inhabits the whole of Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and is also found in the northern and eastern parts of the United States. The trunk rises to the height of seventy or eighty feet, is about two feet in diameter at the base, and is chiefly remarkable for its uniform size for two-thirds of its length. The wood is yellowish, compact, fine-grained, resinous, and durable. The yellow pine, Pinus mitis, rises to the height of fifty or sixty feet, and is fifteen or eighteen inches in diameter at the base. The cones are small, oval, and armed with fine spines. The timber is largely used in shipbuilding and for house timber. Other American pines are the Jersey pine, the trunk of which is too small to be of any utility in the arts; the pitch pine, which is most abundant along the Atlantic coast, and the wood of which, when the tree grows in a dry, gravelly soil, is compact, heavy, and contains a large proportion of resin; the long-leaved pine, Pinus australis, which abounds in the lower part of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, furnishing resin, tar, pitch, and turpentine, and timber which is hardly inferior to the white oak in naval architecture; the white pine, Pinus strobus, which was at one time the principal pine of the region adjacent to the Great Lakes; and Lambert's pine, which grows between the fortieth and forty-third parallels of latitude, and within about 100 miles of the Pacific. It is of gigantic size, the trunk rising from 150 to upward of 300 feet, and being from seven to nearly twenty feet in diameter.