Pinus radiata trees have been placed in the genus Pinus and family Pinaceae. Pines together form a subfamily called Pinoideae. About 115 species are usually known but different experts believe that there are 105 and 125 species known. The English pine has been taken from a Latin word Pinus. They are native to Northern Hemisphere. The world’s tallest pine woods measures 81. 79 m. pines have been widely introduced in The southern part of Hemisphere including parts of Southern Hemisphere, including Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand. During these regions they are basically used for timber but some species have become invasive in these areas also.
Pines are classic, resinous trees growing to a length of 3-80 m tall but some varieties also become 15-45 m tall. The smallest species include Siberian Dwarf Pine and Potosi Pinyon, as well as the tallest are Sugar Pine. The oldest lived species is Great Basin Bristlecone Pine which is 4, 800 years old and is one of the oldest lifestyle organisms known. The bark of the trees is usually thick and scaly while some have thin and flaking barks also. The branches are produced in pseudo-whorls but actually these are spirally arranged and arise from the same point. Majority of the pines are uninodal which means they generate only a single whorl every year.
Various kinds of leaves are found. Seed leaves are present over the seeds in the whorls of 4-24. Juvenile leaves arise soon after the seed leaves and are 2-6 cm long green in color and are spirally arranged. They are created for about 6 months -5 years or more. Scale leaves as the name suggests are brown, scaly and non-photosynthetic arranged spirally. Finally needles occur which are present in clusters of 1-6. They are produced from the bud associated with scale leaf in the axil. They persist for 1 . 5-40 years. If shoot is damaged these people produced a new bud so that a new plant may be borne.
They are monoecious bearing separate male and feminine cones on the same tree but some species are sub-dioecious also bearing males and female cones on different trees. The male cones are usually 1-5 cm, typically small and so are present only for short duration. They may be shed immediately after shedding the pollen. The female cones take 1 . 5-3 years to attain maturity after pollination, actually fertilization is delayed for one year. They are 3-60 cm long and are surrounded by scales impact two fertile seeds. The external scales are small with sterile seeds. The seeds are anemophilous but may be dispersed by hens also. They grow well within acidic soils but some prefer exotic or calcareous soils also. They require well drained soil for correct growth. Seeds are eaten by birds, squirrels, goats and some lepidopteran caterpillars.
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They are highly valued trees and shrubs for their timber and wood pulp. In temperate and tropical places they are fast growing softwoods. They may be cultivated commercially and are more durable than spruce. Pine wood is popular in high-value carpentry items like furniture, window frames, paneling, floors and roofing, and the resin of a few species is an important source of turpentine. Also, they are grown in gardens and theme parks for ornamental purposes. They are also grown and harvested as Christmas woods. They are at risk of being infected with a nematode disease known as wilt condition. Some species produce large seed products which are cooked or baked and consumed as food. The smooth, inner bark is edible and it is a rich source of vitamin A and C.