They raise their branches to the sky in fields, front yards and other sun-soaked places around the world. The pine tree is more than an annual symbol of the Christmas holiday. The enduring pine is one of the more interesting species of tree that has a host of fun facts.
Pine Tree Facts
The pine is a hardy tree with more than 120 species populating the planet, from Asia to the United States and Canada. Pine trees love the sun and need wide-open spaces that offer great places to soak up all that sunshine. Most pine trees make a home in the Northern Hemisphere. The one holdout is the Sumatran pine that has adapted well to forests and jungles south of the equator. Pine trees love to put down roots in subtropical and temperate climates. They top off at 13,000 feet, finding the thinner air and temperatures above that too chilly for their root system and leaves to flourish. They require little water and well-drained, preferably sandy soil. They can live well over 100 years, and some have even been found that are thousands of years old, such as the bristlecone pine that thrives in Nevada's Great Basin National Park.
Branch and Needle Information
The branches of the pine tree grow laterally from a straight trunk that's covered in bark. Some pine tree species produce just one whorl of distinct branches a year that butts against the tip of the new shoot. This is called uninodal. Others grow in multinodal ways, creating two or more whorls of branches in a year. Rather than a thick canopy of leaves, the pine has evergreen needles that don't shed from the tree. The needles can grow from 1 to 11 inches long. The makeup of a pine tree makes it a drought and pest-resistant tree.
Uses of Pine Trees
The woody plants that become the towering trees that populate cities, forests and national parks across the country are beneficial to the environment as well as commerce. Pine is cut down for timber, making it an economical crop. Pine parts are also used for the manufacturing of substances such as pulp and paper, rosin and the cleaning agent turpentine. While pine pollen can be a mess to clean up, leaving layers of yellowish-green powder on surfaces around the home, it's also an adaptogen that aids in stress relief and promotes good sleep. Pine needle tea made from the dried leaves is said to assist in respiratory issues.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.