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The stone pine or arolla pine

Pinus cembra

Pines (Pinus sp.) are a genus of conifers that are widely distributed all over the world.  Hundreds of species live in the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere and in the subtropical belt of both hemispheres.  This genus is characterized by fairly long needles that grow all around the shoot in bundles of two, three or five.  The pine with the longest needles (18-22cm) is the American Pinus jeffreyi.
The regeneration techniques are also very interesting: most species drop their seeds when the strobili (= cones) mature; others, such as Pinus radiata, keep their cones intact for many years, until they open during a woodland fire and release their seeds.  Pinus cembra seeds, however, are distributed by the nutcracker.
The stone pine or arolla pine
 
The stone pine or arolla pine

Species characteristics

Stone pine or arolla pine (Pinus cembra), which is one of the principal conifers in the upper mountains of the Alps, has a pyramidal or columnar shape. This pine is not as long-lived as larch (Larix decidua), reaching about 400-500 years of age. Its needles are dark green; they grow in bundles of five and are 5-8cm long. With their plum-blue colouring and oval shape, the 5-8cm long cones are very pretty.
The wood is pale, soft and easy to work. It is usually worked at the turntable for the production of furniture. The seeds are edible.
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