June Plant of the Month- Pine
Common name: Pine
Latin name: Pinus spp. (Pinus elliottii – slash pine, Pinus palustris – longleaf pine, Pinus clausa – sand pine, Pinus echinata – shortleaf pine, Pinus taeda – loblolly pine, Pinus serotina – pond pine, Pinus glabra – spruce pine) – Pinaceae
Usage: The pine tree has long been utilized for its lumber, resins and medicines. The leaves of the pine tree, or needles, can be utilized for their medicinal properties, as well as the resin of the tree. The energetics of pine are warming and drying. The fresh green needles of pine can be made into a tasty infusion that is packed with Vitamin C. The inner bark of pine is utilized to soothe a wet, phlegmy, congested cough and act as an expectorant. The needles can also be utilized in a steam and inhaled. Pine resin is antimicrobial; just like it heals the wounded bark of the tree, it can assist in healing minor cuts and abrasions. The resin and innerbark can be infused into and oil and utilized as a salve. Not only valued by us humans, pines are an important source of food and shelter for wildlife wherever they grow.
Growth/Habitat: Pines are evergreen, coniferous trees. There are approximately 126 species within the Pinus genus, 7 of which grow in Florida. Each of the seven pines that grow throughout Florida thrives in a particular habitat. All pines have long, slender leaves known as “needles”. These needles tend to be in groups of two or more and are arranged in a bunch called a fascicle. Pines are gymnosperms, meaning they reproduce with seeds, but do not have flowers or fruit. Pines instead produce seed between male and female cones. Some pines release seed on their own, while some pines require fire to induce the opening of the cone and release of the seeds; this is known as serotiny. One such species is the long leaf pine, Pinus palustris, which before the advent of major fire suppression practices by humans, covered 60 million acres of the southeastern US. (UFIFAS)
- Infuse fresh pine needles in apple cider vinegar
- Infuse pine needles in carrier oil and use your favorite salve recipe for pine salve