Pinus radiata Trees: Important Timber Producers

Pinus radiata trees have been placed in the genus Pinus and family Pinaceae. Pines together form a subfamily known as Pinoideae. About 115 species are usually known but different experts believe that there are 105 and 125 types known. The English pine has been taken from a Latin word Pinus. They are native to Northern Hemisphere. The world’s tallest pine sapling measures 81. 79 m. pines have been widely introduced in The southern area of Hemisphere including parts of Southern Hemisphere, including Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Down under, Argentina and New Zealand. During these regions they are basically used for wood but some species have become invasive in these areas also.

Pines are classic, resinous trees growing to a duration of 3-80 m tall but some species also become 15-45 m high. The smallest species include Siberian Little Pine and Potosi Pinyon, as well as the tallest are Sugar Pine. The particular oldest lived species is Great Basin Bristlecone Pine which is 4, eight hundred 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 they may be spirally arranged and arise from a same point. Majority of the pines are uninodal which means they produce only a single whorl every year.

Various kinds of leaves are found. Seed leaves can be found over the seeds in the whorls associated with 4-24. Juvenile leaves arise soon after the seed leaves and are 2-6 cm long green in colour and are spirally arranged. They are created for about 6 months -5 years or even more. Scale leaves as the name indicates are brown, scaly and non-photosynthetic arranged spirally.
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Finally needles arise which are present in clusters of 1-6. They are produced from the bud of scale leaf in the axil. They will persist for 1 . 5-40 yrs. If shoot is damaged they produced a new bud so that a new plant may be borne.

They are monoecious bearing separate male and female cones on the same tree but some varieties are sub-dioecious also bearing masculine and female cones on various trees. The male cones are 1-5 cm, typically small and 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 lengthy and are surrounded by scales bearing two fertile seeds. The external scales are small with sterile and clean seeds. The seeds are anemophilous but may be dispersed by birds also. They grow well in acidic soils but some prefer sandy or calcareous soils also. They need well drained soil for correct growth. Seeds are eaten simply by birds, squirrels, goats and some lepidopteran caterpillars.

They are highly valued trees for their timber and wood pulp. In temperate and tropical areas they are fast growing softwoods. These are cultivated commercially and are more durable compared to spruce. Pine wood is popular in high-value carpentry items for example furniture, window frames, paneling, floors plus roofing, and the resin of several species is an important source of turpentine. They are also grown in gardens and park systems for ornamental purposes. They are also grown and harvested as Christmas sapling. They are at risk of being infected by a nematode disease known as wilt illness. Some species produce large seeds which are cooked or baked and consumed as food. The gentle, inner bark is edible and is a rich source of vitamin A and C.

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