Identifying Pine Trees

I know, I know. This probably would have been a great post to go with first, but I never actually planned my Pine Tree series. It was just something that formed naturally. I have released posts as I have been able to create them. I hope the previous posts have inspired you to learn more about this amazing tree.

Video is silent. The first sign that you have a pine tree is pine needles coating the ground.

Pine trees grow in an inverted cone shape and can be recognized by their bundles of needle like leaves, which grow in clusters rather than in single needles emerging from the branch. Single needle trees are in the same family as the pine tree, but are not the same. Includes spruce, fir, cedar, and others.

Pine trees love the light, and if they grow too close together, they slowly loose limbs, starting at the bottom. Over time, you end up with 100 foot tall trees that are bare except for the very top. These are not the ones you want when harvesting needles unless you have tree climbing gear, and even then I don’t recommend it.

Groves of Pine Tree are bountiful around my area, because of the paper market. Landowners plant Pines, and once the trees are mature, they sell them off for a good chunk of money around 15 years later. They are easy to spot because of the uniform rows in which they are planted.

2 Needles=Red Pine
3 Needles=Yellow Pine
5 Needles=White Pine

Loblolly Pine is what typically grows in my region. Having 3 needles, it is a yellow pine.
Being a conifer tree, Pines have cones, or seed pods basically. You can find Pine Nuts (seeds) inside, which are edible, and pretty expensive at the grocery store.

These are all pictures of the pine trees around my house. Most were purposefully planted, making them easier to identify. I know that not all pine trees grow like this, though. This time of year, however, you can easily spot the evergreens amongst the skeletons of oaks and other deciduous trees that shed their leaves each year, making hunting them down easier.

-The bark is pretty thick and scaly on most pines, but a few have thinner flaky bark. Every pine around where I live has thick bark that I have seen. I’m in East Texas.

-The limbs create “pseudo whorls”, and form a tight spiral that seems to originate from the same point. Pine cones will grow downward on pine tree limbs, whereas most fir trees have upright cones.

For more in depth descriptions on different types of pine trees, I found this article useful. I haven’t even heard of some of the species before, so I’m sure everyone could learn something from it.

*The only trees your really need to worry about can be found here.

If you still have questions, or don’t feel confident that you can pick the right tree, drop a comment or do some more research on your own. Never wildcraft a plant that you are not 100% on.

Check out the other links in my pine tree series to learn more about what to do with this wonderful tree.

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Many Blessings,
Emma Lee

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This post is part of a series on Pine Trees. The other posts can be found below:
Pine Needle Tea & Medicine
Pining For You
Pine Tar Salve DIY
Pine Pitch Candles
Pine Needle Oxymel
Infused Cleaning Vinegar-DIY
All About That Pine Bark
Collecting Pine Pitch


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