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Tribute to pine nut trees

Pine nut producing pines (also known as stone pines, and in America - pinon, pinion, or pinyon pines) are truly a living symbol of the tenacity and generosity of Nature.

Pines are coniferous trees of the genus Pinus, in the family Pinaceae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authors accept anything between about 105 to 125 species.

They are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. In North America, they range from the Arctic south to Nicaragua and Hispaniola, with the highest diversity in Mexico and California. In Eurasia, they range from Spain and Scotland east to the Russian Far East, Japan, and the Philippines, and south to northernmost Africa, the Himalaya and Southeast Asia, with one species (Sumatran Pine) just crossing the Equator in Sumatra. Pines are also extensively planted in many parts of the Southern Hemisphere.

Pines are evergreen and resinous. The bark of most pines is thick and scaly, but some species have thin, flaking bark. The branches are produced in regular "pseudowhorls", actually a very tight spiral but appearing like a ring of branches arising from the same point. Many pines are uninodal, producing just one such whorl of branches each year, from buds at the tip of the year's new shoot, but others are multinodal, producing two or more whorls of branches per year. The new spring shoots are sometimes called "candles"; they are light-colored and point upward at first, later darken and spreading outward. These "candles" offer foresters a means to evaluate fertility of the soil and/or vigour of the trees.

Some two dozen pine species in the world produce seeds that are large enough to be consumed as food by humans. These seeds are known as "pine nuts" (or, in Russia, "cedar nuts") and is rich food for both humans and wildlife. Interestingly enough, even though the majority of pine nuts consumed in America today are imported, this country boasts some of the most extensive and most productive pine nut tree forests in the world! We are talking about millions of acres!

In additon to offering you the most flavorful American pine nuts, for well over a decade now, we have been working to protect America's vast pine nut forests from destruction. By buying our pine nuts, you help protect these generous and beautiful trees, and the wild creatures and human communities who depend on them and their ecosystems for their livelihood.

We have collected on this website some of the most extensive documentation on different pine nut species, their properties and values (please see Resources).


Penny Frazier, Founder

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