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Last edited 12 Jan 2018
Pine is a coniferous wood that can be found in a variety of locations in the Northern Hemisphere. It is one of the most popular woods used in manufacturing and carpentry and can be found in many homes around the world in the form of flooring, windows, furniture and so on.
There are more than 126 classified species of pine, under the Pinus genus.
Distribution of pine
Pine trees are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere and can be found in northern, eastern and central Europe, as well as America, Mexico and mid and southern Canada.
In Germany, pine trees occupy the second highest proportion of wooded areas, with only spruce commanding more space.
Many of these regions host native species of pine tree, with some species only being found in one particular area. For example, Sumatran pine can be found crossing the equator, whereas many Canadian pine species can be found around east of the Rocky Mountains, Mackenzie River, and Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
Description of pine
Pine trees can reach up to 260 ft in height and can live for up to 1,000 years, with some species exceeding even that. The Pinus Longaeva or Great Basin bristlecone pine is one of the longest living pines in the world. A tree of this species can be found in the White Mountains of California, that is estimated to be over 4,900 years old.
The bark of a pine tree is usually quite thick and dense, but there are some species which have thinner, flakier bark.
All pines appear to grow successfully in soil which is primarily acidic, with some thriving on calcium-rich soils, too. They require exceptional drainage, and some even flourish after forest fires, requiring the fire to rejuvenate their seedlings. There are also some species of pine, such as mountain pine and bristlecone pine which thrive in higher altitudes, which is why it is often possible to see pine trees lining mountainsides.
Uses of pine
As an extremely popular choice of material for many carpenters around the world, there are a variety of ways in which pine wood is used.
Paper is often made using the pulp of the pine tree, and it is also widely used in carpentry for furniture due to its fine, smooth grain. The knots which are produced in pine wood are usually small and neat, and make a beautiful addition to the wood; they are chosen to give the furniture a clean, rustic look.
Although it is classed as a soft wood, pine is one of the strongest softwoods on the planet, with many carpenters and manufacturers preferring to use it over the softer spruce for creating furniture.
See also: Pine leaves.
--G&S Specialist Timber 09:11, 07 Feb 2017 (BST)
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