A sugar is obtained from boiling off the water in the sap. Some caution is advised since it is laxative if used in large quantities. A sweet sugar-like substance exudes from wounds made in the heartwood of the tree and also from the cones. It is sometimes used for sweetening foods, though in large quantities it is laxative. The pitch obtained from the trunk is allowed to harden and is then used as a chewing gum.A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood.
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. Yields a pitch, though it is not commercially important. 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. The resin is used as an adhesive.Wood - light, soft, straight but coarse grained. Used for lumber, interior finishes etc.
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A very vigorous tree in Britain, capable of growing 1 metre per year when young. The trees are long-lived in their native environment, but can take 100 years or more before they come into reliable seed bearing. Even then seed production is sparse, with good yields only every 4 - 5 years. The cones open and shed their seed in early autumn whilst still attached to the tree. They are up to 45cm long and often drip with a sweet sap. Unfortunately the cones are seldom borne in Britain, though a tree at Hawkestone Park in Shropshire often bears cones. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow beneath the tree. Trees are susceptible to the 'white pine blister rust' and should not be grown near to blackcurrants. This rust killed off all the plantings of this species that were made prior to 1960. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus.The crushed leaves and shoots have a sweet grapefruit-like aroma.
Problems, pests & diseases
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