The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin and is separated by distillation. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc.Wood - soft, light, coarse grained, brittle. Used occasionally for fuel.
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A long-lived but slow-growing tree in the wild. It grows well in Britain, coning regularly at Kew, but not doing so well in the milder parts of the country. It is best suited for growing in northern areas at higher elevations. Trees do not produce large numbers of cones but small numbers are formed annually. The cones are up to 8cm long, they ripen in late summer and do not open on the tree but fall intact to the ground. This species is the only N. American pine with this habit and it is thus considered to be a primitive species. The seed is extracted by breaking up the soft scales of the cone. Birds and mammals often open the cones and eat the seeds before they mature. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby inhibiting the growth of other plants below the tree. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. This species is closely related to P. flexilis, differing mainly in the cones.Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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