red fir

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pine, common name for members of the Pinaceae, a family of resinous woody trees with needlelike, usually evergreen leaves. The Pinaceae reproduce by means of cones (see cone) rather than flowers and many have winged seeds, suitable for wind distribution. They are found chiefly in north temperate regions, where they form vast forests. The family was apparently more abundant in the mid-Cenozoic era, but it has maintained its population better than other gymnosperms because the trees are more adaptable to cold, dry climates; the reduced leaf surface and deep-set stomata minimize loss of water by transpiration. The family is the largest and most important of the conifers, providing naval stores, paper pulp, and more lumber by far than any other family. In some localities almost pure stands occur, permitting economical lumbering of large numbers of a given type of tree. Of the family's nine genera four are widely dispersed throughout North America and the Old World. Members of all nine genera are represented in horticulture as introduced timber trees or ornamentals. The so-called kauri pine, although pinelike in appearance, belongs to another family (see monkey-puzzle tree).

The True Pines

Pinus (the true pines) is the largest and most widespread genus, characteristic of many north temperate regions (except the plains), especially at lower altitudes, and in a few tropical regions, notably on mountain slopes. Species of Pinus can often be identified by the leaf arrangement, one needle or clusters of from two to five (in all cases enclosed in a sheath at the base) being consistently produced by each type. Many of the pines are economically valuable; from them come the naval stores: pitch (see tar and pitch), turpentine, and rosin. Drying and nondrying oils are also made from the seeds of some pines. Several Mediterranean and American species yield edible seeds (see pine nut).

The ponderosa pine or western yellow pine (P. ponderosa), is a hard pine second only to the Douglas fir as a commercial timber tree in North America. The white pine (P. strobus) has straight-grained soft wood with little resin, used especially for interior trim and cabinetwork. It once grew densely from Newfoundland to Manitoba and over much of the E United States westward to Minnesota, but constant felling and attacks of white-pine blister rust have greatly depleted the stands, especially in the NE United States. The Norway pine, or red pine, (P. resinosa) has a similar range and has also suffered from overcutting. Its wood is somewhat heavier and is suitable for general construction. The Norway pine is frequently used in reforestation programs. The jack pine (P. banksiana), the most northern of the American species, thrives on poor and sandy soils and is much used to colonize areas where more valuable species may later be introduced. Although the trunk is often gnarled, making it unsuitable for good lumber, it supplies much pulpwood and is used locally for rough lumber, fuel, and crating. The Virginia pine (P. virginiana) of the Appalachians and the Piedmont is popular regionally as a Christmas tree. The longleaf pine, or Southern yellow pine (P. palustris) has needles that reach 18 in. (45 cm) in length and have been prized for making baskets and as mulch. Its highly resinous wood is used for heavy construction and as a major source of naval stores and pulpwood. It formerly was the keystone of forests that formed a savannalike ecosystem in much of the S United States. The longleaf pine and the faster growing slash pine (P. caribaea) of the same region have gained importance as northern pine stands have been depleted. The latter is widely cultivated in tropical areas with sandy soils. The Scotch pine (P. sylvestris), ranging from Scotland to Siberia and popular as a Christmas tree in the United States, is one of the most valuable timber trees of Europe. The cluster pine (P. pinaster), widespread in S France and in Spain, is the chief European source of turpentine. The Monterey pine (P. radiata) of California has been widely planted in New Zealand and Chile for reforestation.

Other Species in the Pine Family

Abies (fir) species are usually of more northern distribution and found at higher altitudes. Sap-filled “blisters” on the trunks of some species provide balsam. Larix (larch) and Pseudolarix (golden larch, of China) are the only two deciduous genera. Picea (spruce) is the world's most important source of paper. Cedrus (cedar) ranges from the Mediterranean area to the Himalayas; Keteleeria is restricted to E and SE Asia.

Tsuga (hemlock) and Pseudotsuga are native only to North America and E Asia. Pseudotsuga menziesii (the Douglas fir) of W North America, one of the tallest trees known (up to 385 ft/117 m) and the leading timber-producing tree of the continent, is carefully controlled by forestry measures. Its wood, usually hard and strong, is of great commercial importance for construction; it is also commonly used as a Christmas tree in the United States. Named for David Douglas, the tree has many local names, e.g., Douglas spruce, Oregon pine, red fir, and yellow fir.


Pines are classified in the division Pinophyta, class Pinopsida, order Coniferales.
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Douglas fir, Oregon pine, red fir, yellow fir

A strong, medium-density, medium- to coarse-textured softwood; widely used for plywood and as lumber and timber in construction work.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
These regressions had [r.sup.2] of 0.72, 0.64 and 0.78 for Pinus contorta, Abies magnifica and Pinus monticola, respectively.
For Abies magnifica there were more individuals in the [greater than]20-y old to [leq]40-y old categories than in the younger age categories.
5) ranged from [greater than]170 for Pinus contorta on H4 to [less than]50 for Abies magnifica on H3 and H4.
Parker's (1991) studies indicate that Pinus contorta dominates on areas with slopes [less than]4[degrees] between 1900-m and 2300-m, whereas mixtures of Abies magnifica and P.
Although the species composition of the debris flow is typical for these elevations and terralns, the forest basal areas are smaller than the 50 to 60-[m.sup.2] [ha.sup.-1] reported for Pinus contorta forests (Barbour, 1988; Parker, 1991) and the 70-[m.sup.2] [ha.sup.-1] reported for Abies magnifica forests (Parker, 1991) on similar elevations and terrains.
Even the moderate shade provided by sparse herbaceous vegetation may have reduced the stressful effects of irradiance and soil temperature on Abies magnifica seedlings (Ustin et al., 1984; Selter et al., 1986).
Heights (m) for tree species on the debris flow Percent Species n Mean SD Minimum Median Maximum [greater than]5-m tall Pinus contorta 1674 1.4 1.8 0.03 0.8 13.2 5.8 Abies magnifica 351 1.8 1.8 0.04 1.2 14.7 7.1 Pinus monticola 280 2.5 2.8 0.02 1.7 15.1 15.7 Abies concolor 57 1.6 1.9 0.20 1.1 11.3 7.0 Tsuga mertensiana 47 1.1 2.3 0.10 1.2 5.7 2.1 Pinus jeffreyi 46 3.2 3.4 0.40 2.0 14.9 21.7 Means [pm] SD basal area ([m.sup.2] [ha.sup.-1]) for the major species and the total for all species combined on transects H1 through H4.