Over 100 different species of pine tree (Pinus spp.) exist in the world, mostly native to forests in the Northern Hemisphere. Evergreen needles provide shade in summer and help block cold winds in winter. Pines do not flower but reproduce by forming seeds in their cones. From a gardening standpoint, pines remain among the most popular conifers to grow since they tend to tolerate nutrient-poor or slightly drier soil more so than other common landscape trees.
According to the Gymnosperm Database, pine remains a leading source for lumber and today various pine tree species are central in agroforestry in the United Kingdom, Brazil and New Zealand. The lightweight but relatively strong wood of pine becomes support beams in buildings, and is used for basic furniture construction, woodworking or other construction applications such as concrete forms or bracing. Immature pine trees or soft-wooded species may not be good for lumber, but their wood pulp is usable for making paper products.
A fallen pine tree makes an effective source of fuel for a fire. Once pine wood has dried it sustains a fire for use in heating the home or historically to prepare food when electricity wasn't the norm. The sap and resins within pine wood and bark release a distinctive fragrance when burned, too.
When a pine tree is wounded from a cut, it secretes a pale yellow, sticky goo called resin or oleoresin to seal the wound from potential invading diseases or pests. Two products are made from this resin: rosin and turpentine. Rosin is firm and sticky, often used as a paper glue or in soap making according to the Gymosperm Database. Moreover, rosin can coat or seal wood products like musical instruments, or be added to paints. Turpentine oil derived from resin is important in working with paint and varnish as well to polish shoes or to make sealing wax.
The seeds of some species of pine are harvested and eaten. In Europe, stone pine cones shed seeds that are commonly called "pine nuts." In North America, many types of pinyon pine seeds are edible, too. Pressing pine nuts yields pine nut oil.
Various species of pine are grown and cut specifically for use as Christmas trees in many parts of the world. Cuttings of boughs and pine cones themselves also make festive decorations, particularly for any winter festivity. Wreaths, garlands and swags become central florist fodder to embellish building facades and home interiors when other plants are dormant or not in bloom.