Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Chilgoza Pine Pinus gerardiana, also known as 'noosa' and 'neoza', is a pine native to the northwestern Himalaya in eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and northwest India, growing at elevations between 1800-3350 m. It often occurs in association with Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) and Deodar Cedar (Cedrus deodara).
The trees are 10-20 (-25) m tall with usually deep, wide and open crowns with long, erect branches. However, crowns are narrower and shallower in dense forests. The bark is very flaky, peeling to reveal light greyish-green patches, similar to the closely related Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana). The branchlets are smooth and olive-green. The leaves are needle-like, in fascicles of 3, 6-10 cm long, spreading stiffly, glossy green on the outer surface, with blue-green stomatal lines on the inner face; the sheaths falling in the first year. The cones are 10-18 cm long, 9-11 cm wide when open, with wrinkled, reflexed apophyses and an umbo curved inward at the base. The seeds (pine nuts) are 17-23 mm long and 5-7 mm broad, with a thin shell and a rudimentary wing.
Chilgoza Pine is well known for its edible seeds. The seeds are locally called and marketed as "Chilgoza" and are rich in carbohydrates and proteins. It is one of the most important cash crops of tribal people residing in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, India.
This species is listed as lower risk, near threatened. Overcutting, and intensive grazing causing poor regeneration, may result in the extinction of this pine species. The Himachal Pradesh State Forest Department has tried artificial regeneration of Chilgoza Pine at many places. However, performance of seedlings was found to be very poor.
The scientific name commemorates Captain Gerard, a British army officer in India. It was introduced to England in 1839, where it grows well in the warmer drier areas of the southeast, but is very rarely planted.
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