Pinus radiata

Pinus radiata

The Monterey pine (Pinus radiata D. Don) is an arboreal species belonging to the Pinaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Subarranean Tracheobionta, Spermatophyta Superdivision, Pinophyta Division, Pinopsida Class, Pinales Order, Pinaceae Family, Pinoideae Subfamily and then to Pinus Genus, Pinus Subgenus and P. Radiata species.
The terms are synonyms: Pinus insignis var. radiata (D. Don) Lemmon and Pinus insignis Douglas ex Loudon.

Etymology –
The generic term Pinus derives from the Latin name of the pine tree, associated with the Sanskrit pítu resinous, cited by Pliny, Virgil and others. The specific epiteto radiata comes from rádius, radius: due to the presence of elements arranged in a radial pattern.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Monterey pine is a plant native to the California coast, south of San Francisco (Monterey Bay). It was introduced in Europe in the mid-nineteenth century and today it is grown in the parks and gardens of the mild areas and is also used in the reforestation of the warm areas of Western Europe.
It is also found as a variety Pinus radiata var. binata or pine of Guadalupe on the island of Guadalupe, and a possible separable variety of P. radiata var./ subsp. Cedrosensis on the island of Cedros, both in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the northern peninsula of Baja California, Mexico.
It is a tree introduced intensively in Australia, New Zealand and Spain, as well as in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya and South Africa.

Description –
The Pinus radiata is an evergreen tree, with a majestic and elegant bearing that can reach 25-30 meters in height; it has a pyramidal posture with dense and irregular foliage. The trunk is initially straight, then more or less twisted or oblique, with thick and gray rind, deeply fissured and with large longitudinal plates. The leaves are needles in bundles of three, stiff and pungent, 10-20 cm long, of bright green color.
The male cones are oblong and placed at the base of the young shoots; the female ones are globose and then ovoid and asymmetrical. The cones have a short peduncle, 8-15 cm long, in groups of 1-3, ovate-conical and pointed; they are resinous, of a glossy brown color and remain closed on the tree for some years.

Cultivation –
The Pino di Monterey is cultivated in Italy for ornamental purposes, between 0 and 1200 meters s.l.m .. is a plant that prefers light or medium-textured soils, well-drained, possibly siliceous and deep, in warm, temperate climates. It does not tolerate either intense frost or excessive dryness when young; ideal therefore it is a hilly environment and sheltered from strong winds, in humid sites. Maritime exposures and salty winds are tolerated very well. It needs sunny exposures.
The Pino di Monterey propagates by seed immediately after harvesting or in late winter, in individual jars to avoid the risk of damaging the young plants with the repotting.
To help germination a cold stratification at 4 ° C is necessary for six weeks, after which, once germinated, one or two seasons are expected before proceeding with the implant in its final position. Subsequent transplants should be avoided if possible, especially with pines higher than 90 cm. Alternatively, one can try to proceed by vegetative propagation, even if considering the growth rate of the Monterey Pine compared to the relative slowness of development of the individuals propagated by cuttings, the fatigue may not be worth the result.

Uses and Traditions –
Pinus radiata can be used, as a timber, for a wide variety of uses. It emits a resinous fragrance as it is worked. This wood holds screws and nails well and takes good paint and is very easy to work with, even if it is brittle when folded.
Pinus radiata, in the areas of origin, is used in the construction of houses, piles, plywood beams, for retaining walls, for concrete formwork. It is also used to a limited extent in the construction of boats in which an untreated layer is sometimes used, but must be immersed in an epoxy resin to prevent moisture.
The lower grade wood is instead converted into pulp to produce newsprint.
The Pine of Monterey is, moreover, the most common species of Christmas tree in Australia and New Zealand.
Thanks to its rapid growth has been used in reforestation along the coasts (often inappropriately), without obtaining great results, excluding the Sardinian coasts.
Due to its characteristics, Pinus radiata is ideal for medium to large gardens, where fast tree growth is important. Ideal next to other conifers that contrast with it by color, habitus and texture. Very nice in winter gardens, against the backdrop of heather rugs, next to hardwoods from the branch or with interesting barks like Cornus and birches. It can be used in reforestation even in coastal areas, but in this sense it is good to use it with criteria to avoid unsatisfactory results. As for other pine trees, even in the case of Pino di Monterey, rain dripped from the needles substances that inhibit the germination of the seeds, so it becomes more difficult to grow other plants, or meadows, under its foliage. In this case it is better to fall back on acidophilous and ombrofile plants such as hydrangeas, azaleas, etc.

Preparation Mode –
The Monterey pine has no particular uses in the food or pharmaceutical field.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Pharmacy of the Lord, Advice and experience with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (edited by), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only and do not in any way represent a medical prescription; there is therefore no liability for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

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