Seed - raw or cooked. Rich in oil, the seed has a slightly resinous flavour. Quite small, it is only about 8mm long. The seed can be crushed into a meal and used in making bread etc. The resin has been chewed as a gum. Young male cones have been chewed for the juice.A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood.
A yellow dye can be made from the pollen. A blue dye can be made from the roots. 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. The branches are used as a strewing herb. A decoction of the plant tops has been used as a conditioning wash to give a person a fair and smooth skin. A fairly wind-tolerant tree, it can be used in shelterbelt plantings. This tree is a source of resin, though it is not exploited commercially. 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, adhesive etc. It burns well and so has been used to make torches. The root fibres have been used in making baskets. Material for insulation and a tinder are also obtained from the tree. The cones make a quick fire, whilst the scales from the trunk bark burn easily, give off no smoke and cool quickly.Wood - light, strong, fine-grained and pleasantly aromatic, the wood can vary from soft to hard. An important lumber tree, it is used for making furniture, boxes, toys etc, and it is also used for fuel. For reasons that are unclear, some tree stumps contain high concentrations of pitch - this makes them very rot-resistant and inflammable and therefore useful for fence posts and kindling.
The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers. The branches are used in herbal steam baths as a treatment for muscular pains. A decoction of the plant tops has been used in the treatment of internal bleeding and high fevers.An infusion of the dried buds has been used as an eye wash.
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Extensively used in cool temperate forestry, this species is occasionally planted for timber in central and southern Europe. Growth can be quite fast when young but it soon drops of and averages around 30cm per year. The best trees in Britain are found in a belt running from Kent through the Midlands to N. Wales and also in S. Scotland. Trees live 300 - 600 years in the wild, they seem to be long-lived and healthy in Britain. Seed production commences when the tree is about 20 years old. There are usually several years of low to medium yields between each year of high yields. The cones are 8 - 15cm long, they open and shed their seed whilst still attached to the tree and then soon fall from the tree. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow under the trees.Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Problems, pests & diseases
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