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Pines and Other Conifers

leaves, trees, species, pine and timber

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PINES AND OTHER CONIFERS The conifers are an ancient and honorable race. They form one of the proud old first families " of trees. Along the shores of tik Silurian sea they stood up, man-fashion, with the giant horse tails and the tree ferns, before most species of modern plants existed, and while the others were groveling at their feet. In the coal measures are found the mummied remains of these ancestral trees. Tie vials in the Everglades of Florida are some of their surviving representa tives. Smitten with years, they cannot long survive; and the pines, too, are in their decline. Other trees, more tenacious of life, with seeds more quick and sure to ger minate, are strongly competing for room. Man has ruthlessly tered them for timber. Forests of conifers do not spring up in the track of the lumberman. Human avarice has but hastened a decline in in a state of nature. The conifers are grown old — the day is not far distant when they will exist only as man fosters them by culti vation.

The pines and their relatives are trees, with resi11011S 'Vold, with stiff needle-like or scale-like evergreen leaves, and having incon spicuous flowers of two sorts borne in catkins. The pistillate catkin matures into a WIlody colic. each scale of which bears a pair of winged seeds. To each of the above cha• acters there are exceptions. Fur example, the larch is a conifer hut nut an evergreen, because it sheds its leaves at the approach of winter. On the other hand, in \ varmer regions, many trees which are nut conifers retain their leaves the year around. Again, the yew and juniper are conifers winch yield berries instead of cones, hot the development of the berries shows their essential similarity to cones. some trees, as the birch, have cone-shaped fruits, hut are nut, uuun The one character which is constant in the whole group. setting it apart from the rest of the plant king dom, is expressed in the name Uq»otosperm, which means mi•e( seed." There is no ovary in the flower. Two naked ovules are borne on each scale of the fertile cone,. They are fertilized by the pollen falling directly upon them. plants higher in the scale of life have the ovules inclosed in ovaries.

The Gymnosperms include the Pines. Spruces, Firs, Cedars, Junipers. Hemlocks, Larches. Cypresses. Yews, and the (;ingko, or Maidenhair Tree.

The Pines. The genus Pinus is known by its long. needle-like, angled leaves. They are in bundles, two to hive, leaves in each, recording to the species. There is a sheath of papery scales at the base of each handle. The I.( of pines ;1 VP consnicnons. and renuire two years to ripen their seeds. There are about a dozen species ()1 pines east of the Rocky brantains.

The White Pine, Pimrs is one of the most important of Amer ican timber trees. It formed a prominent part of the great forests that stretched from Newfoundland west itlong the Great Lakes. The species grows south along the mountains as far as Georgia. The tree sends np one straight shaft. sometimes to the height of one hun dred aml seventy-five feet, with whorls of branches coming out at inter vals, forming horizontal platforms of foliage. Each whorl marks a year of the tree's life, for the terminal bud extends the stem. at the same time. several of the hods that cluster around it grow into horizontal branches.

There is no evergreen more beautiful than the White Pine. Its foliage is dark and soft and plume-like. its bark smooth. its graceful and symmetrical. or rugged and picturesque. We may always know the White Pine from all others by the number of leaves which form its clusters. There are five leaves in each sheath. The lung pendent cones have thin scales which are unadorned hy any promi nence at the tip.

The Long-leaved or (leorgia. Pine. Pi/ors palitstris, is the most impor tant of the hard pines. Extensive forests of it skirt our southeastern coasts from Virginia to Texas. This species yields not only valuable timber but also tar, turpentine, rosin, and all other hy-prodnets derived from resin. The Georgia Pine has hegun also to he extensively used for Christmas greens. its supple, glossy leaves, often sixteen inches long, are tufted closely npon the twins. A branch with all of its long needles spread is as effective in decoration as a young palm.

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