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THE WHITE PINE: A LARGE AND POWERFUL TREE

THE WHITE PINE: A LARGE AND POWERFUL TREE

11 Oct
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Posted By: Pavel Times Read: 1045

The White pine (Pinus strobus) is a large pine native to eastern North America. It is distributed in Newfoundland, west to Manitoba, south to Ohio, Northern Indiana, along the Appalachian mountains to Eastern Kentucky and Northern Georgia. It grows in mixed forests with other coniferous and deciduous species. The white pine prefers fresh, deep, sandy loam and loamy soils. In warm areas, it grows well on fresh and even damp soils. The tree is shade-tolerant, and less demanding on light than Scots pine.
The White pine grows up to 40-50 m tall and 150 cm (5 ft 3 in) in diameter. The trunk is straight, often bifurcated. The bark is greenish-brown or gray, smooth, shiny or dull, later lamellar. The crown is pyramidal in youth, later wide, with long, horizontally extended branches. Young shoots are glabrous, thin, shiny, greenish, subsequently brown. Buds are 5-7 mm long, conical, pointed, yellow-red, slightly shiny, slightly resinous. The leaves are in bundles of 5, 7-12 cm long, thin, soft, trihedral, narrow-linear, light green. The White pine bears spikelets and cones. Male spikelets are up to 1.5 cm long, ovoid, pale yellow, sometimes reddish. Female cones are long-petiolate, up to 10 mm long, bluish-green above, yellow-green below, with reddish scales, single or in a bundle of 2-5 at the ends of the shoots. The mature cones grow 10-16 cm long, 2-4 cm wide, slender, long-cylindrical, resinous, light brown. The seeds are 5-7 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, ovoid, dark brown. The cones ripen in the second year after flowering, and the seeds spill out in a short time.

CHEMICAL CONSTITUENTS
Vitamins A and C
many different acids in needles
essential oils (including terpenes, monoterpenes, sesqueterpenes)
resin (oleoresin)
starch
tannin
glycosides

USES
The seed is edible, it is used raw or cooked. They are sweet and nutritious, but used mainly as a flavoring. The firm unexpanded male cones can also be boiled and used as a flavouring. The needles make an aromatic herbal tea that is rich in vitamin C. The inner bark was collected by American Natives and used raw or cooked  during times of winter starvation. They also stewed young staminate cones with meat, which were said to be sweet and not pitchy.

Dried inner bark is used medicinally.
The tribes of Native Americans appreciated the White pine for antiseptic and vulnerary qualities.
It is used for treating skin complaints, burns, wounds and boils.
The poultice of pitch is used to draw out toxins from boils and lower pain.
An infusion is used for gargling and as an ingredient in commercial cough syrups for promoting expulsion of phlegm.
The pounded inner bark is used externally for healing skin injuries.
The infusion of young twigs benefits for treating kidney disorders and pulmonary complaints.
The powdered wood is helpful for babies with erupted skin and sores.

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