Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) is a pine native to the Himalaya, Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountains, from eastern Afghanistan east to Yunnan in southwest China. It grows at high altitudes in mountain valleys at altitudes of 1800-4300 m (rarely as low as 1200 m), and is a tree from 30-50 m in height. It grows in a temperate climate with dry winters and wet summers.
This pine is also called the Himalayan White Pine. In the past it was also often known as 'Bhutan Pine', but this is now avoided to reduce confusion with the more recently-described Pinus bhutanica, a closely related species. In the past, Blue Pine was also known by the invalid Latin names "Pinus griffithii" or "Pinus excelsa".
The needles are in bundles of five and are 12-18 cm long, and often droop gracefully. The cones are long and slender, 16-32 cm, yellow-buff when mature, with thin scales; the seeds are 5-6 mm long with a 20-30 mm wing.
The wood is moderately hard, durable and highly resinous. It is a good firewood but gives off a pungent resinous smoke. It is another commercial source of turpentine which is superior quality than that of Chir Pine (P. roxburghii) but is not produced so freely.
It is also a popular tree for planting in parks and large gardens, grown for its attractive foliage and large, decorative cones. It is also valued for its relatively high resistance to air pollution, tolerating this better than some other conifers.
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