Journal Notes: Pine – The Eastern White Pine is the symbol of New England. Pines are evergreen, coniferous trees. Young trees have a smooth bark which develops into a thick scaly bark as they mature. Depending on the type of pine they can reach anywhere between 10–260 ft in height but typically are 50-150 ft. Only mature pines produce needles. Seedlings have Seed leaves. Next, young plants produce Juvenile leaves, then Scale leaves before finally the needles. The Eastern White Pine will have needles which are 3-5 inches long in clusters of five. Male pine cones are only about 1-5 cm long and usually fall as soon as they have pollinated the females. The female pine cones are 5-10 inches long and take two years to mature. Each scale on the pinecone has two winged seeds or nuts which ripen in September. The pine cone will open naturally as it dries or you can speed the process by setting it near a fire or wood stove. They can be shelled and eaten raw or stored in their shells. I’ve read the young male pinecones can be boiled or baked. The inner bark of young twigs can be eaten raw. In mature trees the inner bark can be peeled into strips and fried. Pine needle tea is a source of vitamins A and C and can be made by seeping a handful of needles in hot or boiling water for about ten minutes.
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