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Colorado Pinyon Pine
Pinaceae
Pinus edulis


Thunder
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Type Categories Useful Parts

Tree



Pinaceae Family

Pinus Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Two-needle Pinyon, Pinyon Pine


Location

Origin & Range: SW United States. Southern Rocky Mountain region from Utah and Colorado south to New Mexico and Arizona; local in sw. Wyoming, extreme nw. Oklahoma, Trans-Pecos Texas, se. California, and Mexico; mostly at 5000-7000' (1524-2134 m)

Physical Description
Small, bushy, resinous tree with short trunk and compact, rounded, spreading crown. Height: 15-35' (4.6-10.7 m). Diameter: 1-2' (0.3-0.6 m) or more.
Needles: evergreen; 1 to 2 inch long needles, in spirally-arranged fascicles. There are 2 needles per fascicle in P. edulis, and 1 needle per fascicle in P. monophylla. New growth is bluish-green turning yellowish-green.
Bark: The bark is thin, gray to reddish-brown or nearly black. The trunk is frequently twisted and crooked. The bark is irregularly furrowed with small scales. Pine gum resin abundant.
Cones: 1 1/2-2" (4-5 cm) long; egg-shaped, yellow-brown, resinous or sticky; opening and shedding; with thick, blunt cone-scales; seeds large, wingless, slightly thick-walled, oily, edible. Cones. Unisexual, in clusters at the ends of branches. The male cones occurring in clusters of 20 to 40, dark red to purplish red to yellow. Female cones are solitary and purplish. Mature female cones appear as "pine cones", light brown to tan in color with thick scales. The cones don't mature until September of the second year.

Seeds are pine nuts.




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Pinaceae
Pinales
Pinales
Order of Pines
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

The edible pine kernel (pine nut pr pinon) gave its name to the 'pineal gland', which it resembles in size and appearance. According to eastern philosophies, the pineal gland is the seat of the soul. For a long time Western medicine was mystified by it, but now it seems clear that, though very small in size, the pineal gland plays an important role in regulating individual biorhythms, in itself a rather perplexing process
The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and poultices on cuts, boils, burns and various skin problems. The heated pitch has been applied to the face to remove facial hair.
The gum is used as a plaster on cuts and sores.
An infusion of the leaves has been used as an emetic to cleanse the stomach. The leaves have been chewed in the treatment of venereal diseases. The leaves have been burnt and the smoke inhaled as a treatment for colds.
The edible seeds, known as pinyon nuts, Indian nuts, pine nuts, and pinones (Spanish), are a wild, commercial nut crop. Pinyon ranks first among the native nut trees of the United States that are not also cultivated. Pine kernels are very restorative and fortifying. They are an excellent addition to the diet during convalescence, though can be equally enjoyed at any other time, added to Muesli or baked into cakes. Pine nuts and Basil leaves are a particularly wonderful combination.
The seed crop of pinyon pine is valuable and is used in making candies, cakes, and cookies. The seeds were a staple food in American Indian diets and were eaten raw, roasted, or ground into flour. Seed crops are erratic, depending on moisture, and Indian migrations were determined by location of seed crops. Needles were steeped for tea. The inner bark served as starvation food for American Indians. Rich in oil, protein and thiamine. The seed contains about 15% protein.
Pinyon pine is worthless as forage for livestock. Although not preferred, cattle will use Pinyon needles. Pinyon needles are believed to cause abortion in cows. The seeds are important wildlife food for several songbirds, quails, squirrels, chipmunks, black bears, and mule deer. Pinyon-juniper woodlands provide a habitat for a varied wildlife population. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, desert cottontail, mountain cottontail, and wild turkey provide increasing hunter recreation. Pinyon nuts are a preferred food for turkeys, but in poor seed years, juniper mast is also consumed. Similarly, deer subsist on browse species, but pinyon is a common food particularly during harsh winters with deep snow
Today incense is made from crushed cones. Indians still use the pitch as a caulking compound for watertight baskets and as glue for turquoise jewelry.
A tan or green dye is obtained from the needles
Wood - light, soft, not strong, but brittle. Used for fuel, fencing, etc. A charcoal made from the wood is used in smelting. The wood makes a good fuel, burning with few sparks being thrown out
They symbolize humbleness, good fortune and prosperity , fertility and protection. Their needles stay green even through the harsh winter months, and thus their evergreen nature has been interpreted as a sign of their vitality. In the olden days, farmers sought to transfer this vital force and its protective powers to their barns and stables by sweeping them with brushes wound from Pine twigs and pinning some above the doors as well. They were thought to ward off witchcraft and protect house and cattle from misfortune, disease and even lightning.
In ancient Roman mythology Pines were sacred to Attis, the lover of the earth goddess Cybele, who was gored by a boar. After his death he was changed into a Pine tree. At his festival, which was held at the spring equinox, a pine tree was cut and brought into the sanctuary of the goddess. The trunk was prepared like a corpse and decked out with flowers. Tied to it was an effigy of a young man, the image of Attis prior to his mishap. For two days the crowds lamented his death and on the third day of celebrations the priests would offer a blood sacrifice by cutting their own arms. The accompanying music was said to drive the crowds into a frenzy and several of the worshippers would offer blood sacrifices of their own.



Colorado Pinyon Pine
Full grown tree photographed in Blanca, Colorado



Colorado Pinyon Pine
Young Tree

Comment: Colorado Pinyon Pine, Pinus edulis

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