Botany

Christmas Tree



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Virginia Pine – Pinus Virginia belongs to the Pine family. It is a tree of commercial importance. It was once considered as a forest weed and called scrub pine. Virginia Pine is also known as Jersey Pine or spruce pine. The range of Virginia Pine begins in Central Pennsylvania and extends southwards into northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. It further extends into west Ohio, southern Indiana and Tennessee.

Virginia Pine is a small to medium sized pine tree. It has long spreading branches. The branches are stout and woody and are reddish brown in color. The Virginia Pine needles occur in pairs. They are twisted and range from 1.5 to 3 inches in length. They are relatively short when compared to other pine trees. Individual clusters can remain for three or four years. They are shed and replaced by new needles as the branch grows.

The flowers are small and yellow in color. They are found at the end of branches cylindrically shaped. The pine cones are small and oval covered by prickly scales.

Virginia Pine trees grow very fast. Their seeds are consumed by many birds and small mammals. These animals help to spread the seeds by carrying them to many places. Twigs and needles of this tree are eaten by White - tailed deer. Young Virginia pine trees are a good cover for animals such as rabbits.

Virginia Pines are a favorite of the woodpeckers because of the soft wood in older trees. Many species of fungi live with this tree symbiotically. The fungi grow on the roots of Virginia Pine. They absorb nutrients from the tree and allow other nutrients to be absorbed by the tree.

Virginia Pine responds well to trimming. Virginia Pine is cultivated in abundance in the Christmas Tree plantations. Virginia Pine is in great demand as a Christmas tree during Christmas. Due to this two genetic improvement programs were initiated. One was a Texas Forest Service Project and the other one was based at Alabama A & M University. After years of progeny tests and selective removal of trees from the seed orchards, growers have Virginia Pine seed sources specifically cultured for Christmas tree production.

Virginia Pine is a source of pulpwood because the older wood is softened by fungal decay. It also provides nesting for many woodpeckers. This tree is also used in abundance for reforestation of abandoned lands.

Virginia Pine is classed as “near threatened” by the IUCN Red List. In New York the Virginia Pine is listed as endangered.

References

Wikipedia

Pinus virginiana Mill

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