Nut Pines

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Nut Pines


several species of pine with edible seeds, or pine nut (sometimes called cedar nuts). The trees have long needles in groups of five on short shoots. The cones, which are indehiscent, mature by the second season and fall off. The seeds are large and wingless (less frequently, with a deciduous wing). The seed coat is hard and ligneous. The species Pinus sibirica, which is found in the USSR, measures up to 35 m (sometimes 1.5–2.0 m) in height and up to 1.8 m in diameter. The crown is thick and conical. The evergreen needles are 6–13 cm long, trihedral, bluish, and serrate; leaf fall occurs sometime between the third and fifth season. The cones are 6–13 cm long and have tightly pressed scales. The seeds are dark brown and measure 10–14 mm long and 6–10 mm wide. An abundant crop of pine nuts is produced every five or six years.

Nut pines grow on the mountains and plains of Northeast European USSR. They are found in the upper course of the Vychegda River and throughout almost all of Western and Eastern Siberia in pine forests and in spruce, fir, and other forests. Nut pines predominate in the forests of the Western Siberian Plain.

The nut pine can live 500 years. It begins to bear fruit between the ages of 20 and 70 years. At the age of 250 years it no longer bears fruit. The seeds contain pine oil. The commercial harvesting of pine nuts is concentrated in the Urals, Western Siberia, and the Yakut ASSR.

The Korean pine (P. koraiensis), which measures 30–40 m in height and 1.5–2.0 m in diameter, often has several distinct crowns. It grows on mountain slopes along with firs, Yeddo spruces, maples, lindens, and other kinds of trees in the Far East, Northeast China, and Korea. Other nut pines are the dwarf stone pine (P. pumila), the Italian stone pine (P. pined), the Swiss stone pine (P. cembra). The last is an alpine-Carpathian species. Nut pines are sometimes incorrectly called cedars.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.