Pine trees are evergreen conifers that can be found all over the world. There are about 115 species of pine. Most are native to the Northern Hemisphere, but many have been introduced to places like Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Pines range in size from the smallest Siberian Dwarf Pine, which is a foot tall, to the Ponderosa Pines located in southern Oregon, which are over 250 feet tall. Pines can live 100-1000 years. The oldest is the Great Bason Bristlecone Pine in California, which is thought to be 4,600 years old. It is the oldest living thing on earth.
Pines grow well in acidic soils. Most require good drainage. Pines make attractive ornamental plantings for larger gardens. Some of the dwarf cultivars can be used for smaller spaces, though.
Did you know that pine trees can be used as a source of food? You probably know about pine nuts. Some species have these large seeds that can be used for cooking and baking. But I bet you didn't know that the white inner bark can be eaten. It's surprisingly high in vitamins A and C. A little trivia for you: the Adirondack Indians get their name from a Mohawk word meaning "tree eaters." They used to eat the wood of the pine. A tea can also be made by seeping young green pine needles in boiling water. This too, is high in vitamins A and C. Who knew the pine tree could be so versatile!