Himalayan Pine

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
The Himalayan Pine is a beautiful tree native to the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Hindu Kush mountains. It is a coniferous evergreen that grows in altitudes of ~2000-4000 meters. The tree can grow up to 50 meters in height, but is more often 10 to 30 meters tall. It grows quickly and can thrive in moist environments. The branches of the pine can extend outward very far and are covered in blue-green needles all year. It is also known as the Blue Pine, the Bhutan Pine, and the Himalayan White Pine. This particular pine is in a wonderful location right on the corner of Hillside and Prospect, and is in a great place to take a walk or relax and enjoy nature.
Noah Yaffe
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Date of tree entry: 
7.30 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.08 m

The bark of the Himalayan Pine is grey and dark-brown. It is typically grey when younger and browns as the tree ages. The bark is flaky and fissures appear at the base of the trunk. Despite this, the wood is quite durable and hard. It can be used as firewood but it produces a large amount of smoke as it is very resinous.
Twigs & branches
The branches begin growing near the base of the tree. The tree is pyramidal, so the branches are wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. At their extreme, branches can spread wider than 8 metres in diameter around the base of the tree. They are densely packed all around the lower portion of the trunk.
The leaves of the Himalayan Pine are needle-like, much like those of other members of the Pinaceae family. They are arranged in bundles called fascicles, each of which contains approximately five leaves. The needles are blue-grey or blue-green, and this is usually determined by the conditions of their habitat. The leaves can grow to be 12-18cm long. While upright in the early stages of growth, the bundles of leaves on the Himalayan Pine begin to droop with age.
Reproductive Structures
The Himalayan Pine is monoecious, meaning that it has separate male and female reproductive structures that are found on the same plant. The male cones grow in clusters at the end of the branches. They are typically found on the lower portion of the tree. These produce pollen grains which are transported by the wind to other pines. The female cones are woody and develop near the top of the tree. Each scale on the female cone contains two ovules, which develop into seeds.
Since it is a conifer, the Himalayan Pine doesn't have fruit, but it does produce seeds. The outer seed coat protects the developing embryo. The seeds are ~5-7mm in length, and are elliptical in shape. The seeds are edible and are supposed to be quite tasty!
  • Winter
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn
Natural range of distribution: 
The Himalayan Pine is native to the Himalayas, Karakoram, and Kindu Kush mountain ranges. It can be found in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, and China. It prefers to grow in mountain screes, but can also be found in forests as a primary species. The pine can be grown in moist, well-drained environments and prefers to grow in clay or loam. It cannot grow in the shade.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Himalayan Pine was initially known as Pinus griffithii​ or Pinus excelsa. Its scientific name was eventually changed to Pinus wallichiana in honor of Nathaniel Wallich. Wallich was a Danish botanist and surgeon who practiced in Bhutan. He introduced to seeds of the Himalayan Pine to England in 1827, and the tree was officially made available in the European Nursery trade in 1836.

The Himalayan Pine is used to produce turpentine, which is a common solvent used for organic synthesis. Turpentine is obtained by distilling the tree’s resin. Pines in warmer regions give a higher yield of resin. Historically, turpentine was also used for medicinal purposes. It was used to cure respiratory problems, colds, and a variety of skin conditions. Additionally, it was thought to act as an anti-parasitic drug and has antiseptic properties. Turpentine is still found in chest rubs such as Vicks and is put in some cleaning products.

After turpentine is distilled away, the remaining material is rosin. This is used to make varnish and wax, and is used by violinist’s on their bows. The leaves of the Himalayan Pine are used to produce a green dye, and the wood is durable enough to be used in carpentry and construction.

The Himalayan Pine is an evergreen, so it has leaves year round. Pollination occurs any time between April and June and the seeds mature from September to October; however, maturation can take an entire year, and the seeds may not develop until the next season.
Other information of interest: 

The Himalayan Pine is susceptible to Honey Fungus, which is a fungal growth that attacks the roots of trees and leads to decay. This can cause the tree to die.

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