Pines are one of the easiest to identify of the conifers and have a wide variety of uses. As you may already know, pine trees are not a single species, as there are many different species of pines that thrive throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Many pines are endemic to North America, and are often used to complement garden landscapes. In the past, Native peoples of North America used Pines both for nourishment and medicinal purposes.
Temperate regions where winter temperatures do not fall below about -40 C.
Coniferous, evergreen trees. Pine trees are coniferous trees with bundled needles in groups from 2 to 5 needles.
The inner bark is succulent and sweet , particularly when sap is running in the spring. The seeds are high in fat and protein and are commercially produced to this day.
Dried inner bark can be ground into a nutritious meal during times of lack of food. The small seeds were also eaten. Sometimes on hot, sunny days, when photosynthesis and root pressure are high, and transpiration is slow, crystals of sugar form at the tips of needles and around branches. This rare treat was occasionally eaten raw or collected for future use in sweetening foods.
Pine needle tea is high in Vitamins A and C, so it is taken to cure scurvy. Some tribes used strong pine needle tea as a contraceptive.
In the past, First Nations peoples considered this tree to be a tree of life. It was used to make canoes, clothing form the bark, baskets from the roots, totem poles, and cooking boxes.
The good quality wood is used for many applications today, including shingles, furniture, fencing and carvings. These architectural and building uses make pine a common tree harvested for lumber.
As a popular ornamental tree, you likely have one or two growing in your very own backyard!
Pine tea should not be taken by pregnant women, and large amounts of evergreen tea can be toxic. Pine resin can cause skin irritations and reactions in some people. Evergreen teas and fir needles should be taken in moderation. Pregnant women and people with kidney disorder should not take pine tea. Pine resin can cause skin irritations and reactions in some people. Pine oil can cause low blood pressure, convulsions and even death. Evergreen teas and fir needles should be taken in moderation. Please remember that this article is no way is intended to offer medical advice; it is merely an interesting resource for those who would like to become more familiar with wild plants.