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Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Western White Pine
Pinus monticola

A tan or green dye is obtained from the needles[168].

The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat[201].

Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile[64]. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood[4, 64]. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields[64]. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin[64] and is separated by distillation[4, 64]. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc[4]. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc[4]. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc.

Wood – straight and close-grained, soft, light, not strong, very durable, resistant to shrinking and warping. An important timber tree, it is used in making doors, shelves, flooring, construction etc[46, 61, 82, 171, 229]. The wood has dark knots, making it attractive for panelling[226].

  • Medicinal Use

    The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge[4]. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections[4, 257]. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB[4, 257]. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers[4].

    An infusion of the bark has been used as a blood purifier and in the treatment of stomach disorders and tuberculosis[257]. A decoction of the bark has been used as a wash on cuts and sores[257].

    A decoction of the young shoots has been used as a soak in the treatment of rheumatism[257].

  • Edible Use

    Seed – raw or cooked[105, 177]. The oil-rich seed has a resinous flavour. Rather small, the seed is only 5mm long[200]. The seed is up to 9mm long[82, 229].

    An edible gummy exudation from the stem is used as a chewing gum[257].

    Inner bark – raw or cooked[177, 257]. The inner bark can be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereals when making bread[257].

    The roasted young cones can be eaten[257].

    A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood[200].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The wood, sawdust and resins from various species of pine can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[222].

Cultivation & Habitat

It is best to sow the seed in individual pots in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in late winter. A short stratification of 6 weeks at 4¡c can improve the germination of stored seed[80]. Plant seedlings out into their permanent positions as soon as possible and protect them for their first winter or two[11]. Plants have a very sparse root system and the sooner they are planted into their permanent positions the better they will grow[K]. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm[200]. We actually plant them out when they are about 5 – 10cm tall. So long as they are given a very good weed-excluding mulch they establish very well[K]. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance[200]. Cuttings. This method only works when taken from very young trees less than 10 years old. Use single leaf fascicles with the base of the short shoot. Disbudding the shoots some weeks before taking the cuttings can help. Cuttings are normally slow to grow away[81].
Thrives in a light well-drained sandy or gravelly loam in a sunny position[1, 11]. Dislikes poorly drained moorland soils[1]. Established plants tolerate drought[200]. A fast growing tree, capable of sustaining growth of 75cm per year over a long period of time even when in an unfavourable site. This species establishes very well on severely altered sites such as after a forest fire[229]. Trees on a site 300m above sea level in N. Wales have grown exceptionally well[185]. Girth increases of up to 4cm a year have been recorded[185]. Trees take 30 – 40 years before they produce reliable crops of seeds[229]. Good crops are produced every 2 – 4 years in the wild, with little seed in the intervening years[229]. The cones are 12 – 27cm long and take 2 years to mature[82, 229], they open and shed their seed in late summer and early autumn whilst still attached to the tree[82, 226]. Very susceptible to ‘white pine blister rust’ this tree should not be planted near Ribes species (currants and gooseberries) because they can transmit the rust(1, 11, 120). Most of the older trees in this country have been killed by the rust. However, it seems that infection only occurs when the trees are young in this country and new plantings in areas isolated from species of Ribes are being made[185]. Plants are also subject to damage by aphis. Trees have a thin bark, which makes them susceptible to forest fires[226]. Plants are strongly outbreeding, self-fertilized seed usually grows poorly[200]. They hybridize freely with other members of this genus[200]. Leaf secretions inhibit the germination of seeds, thereby reducing the amount of plants that can grow beneath the tree[18]. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus[200].
Western N. America, British Columbia to California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.