Pines are the second most common conifers in our forests. In fact, pines are the most common conifers worldwide. They are also called pines. There are just over a hundred different species of pine trees. Together they form a genus.
Pine trees can live up to 500 years, and in some cases up to 1000 years. They are found in the mountains up to the tree line. Pine trees grow to about 50 meters in height. Their diameter measures up to one and a half meters. Old pine trees often lose part of their bark and only bear it on the younger branches. The needles fall off after about four to seven years.
The buds with the flowers are either male or female. The wind carries the pollen from one bud to the next. Rounded cones develop from this, which initially stand straight up. Over the course of a year, they begin to droop downwards. The seeds have a wing so the wind can carry them far away. This allows the pine trees to multiply better.
A Female Pine Cone
Birds, squirrels, mice, and many other forest animals feed on pine seeds. Deer, red deer, chamois, ibex, and other animals often eat the offspring or young shoots. Many butterflies feed on the nectar of pine trees. Numerous species of beetles live under the bark.
How do humans use pines?
Man uses a lot of pine wood. It contains a lot of resin and is therefore more suitable for outdoor buildings than spruce wood because it rots less quickly. Many terraces or cladding are therefore made of pine. Because of the resin, pine wood smells strong and pleasant.
From the Palaeolithic Age to the beginning of the 20th century, [[resin (material)|kienspan]] was used for lighting. Often this wood even came from pine roots, because this contains even more resin. Pine shavings were put into a holder as thin logs and lit as a small torch.
The resin was also extracted from pine wood. This happened in two different ways: either the tree bark was scratched and a bucket hung under the open spot. Or entire logs of wood were heated in an oven in such a way that they did not catch fire, but the resin ran out.
The resin was the best glue even before the Middle Ages. Mixed with animal fat, it was also used as a lubricant for the axles of various wagons and carts. Later, turpentine could be extracted from the resin and used to produce paints for painting, for example.