Botany

Tree Profiles Blue Pine



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The Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) is also called the Himalayan White Pine or Bhutan Pine. This pine is closely related to Bhutan White Pine and often causes confusion. It grows in Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains, from eastern Afghanistan east across northern Pakistan and India to Yunnan in southwest China. It grows in a temperate climate with dry winters and wet summers. It has moderate to slow growth rate but can grow up to 50 m tall. The wood is moderately hard and it has straight trunk and short branches.

The leaves of the Blue Pine are evergreen needles like other pines. They are usually in bundles of five with blue green color and are 12-18 cm long. The young leaves erect and will droop gracefully when the tree matures. The cones are long and slender at around 16–32 cm. They will be at yellowish brown when mature. The seeds of the Blue Pine are 5–6 mm long with a 20–30 mm wing.

The Blue Pine provides food for various species. Squirrels, chipmunks, birds and mice eat the seed and the needle leaves. Rabbits and various mammals eat the bark of young trees. Besides food, the Blue Pine also provides shelter for animals. Bald eagles build nest on its main branch, usually located below the crown top. Young black bear cubs climb pine for safety. Broken tops of the pine are a valuable habitat for nesting animals.

The Blue Pine is moderately fire resistant, as it has thick bark and deep rooting habit. Only mature trees are moderately fire resistant. Younger trees are not as fire resistant as older one. The needle leaves have low resin content that are not highly flammable.

The Blue Pine is a tough plant that only needs easy maintenance. It grows in a site with direct sunlight or partial shade with moist. It prefers a well drained, sandy soil on neutral to acid soil. The Blue Pine needs to be plant in large area as it will be broad at maturity. This tree is suitable to be plant in parks or large gardens as it is very graceful and has very beautiful pines. It can tolerate wind and has a high resistance to air pollution. Some people said that the only weakness of this pine is that it doesn’t grow attractive flowers, but who needs flowers when you have beautiful spines.

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