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Pine (Family Pinaceae)
 

The family Pinaceae (Pine Family), is in the order Pinales, formerly

known as the Coniferales, and includes many of the well-known

conifers of commercial importance such as cedars, firs, hemlocks,

larches, pines and spruces. It is the largest extant conifer family in

species diversity, with between 220-250 species (depending on

taxonomic opinion) in 11 genera, and the second-largest (after

Cupressaceae) in geographical range, found in most of the Northern

Hemisphere with the majority of the species in temperate climates

but ranging from sub arctic to tropical. The family often forms the

dominant component of boreal, coastal and montane forests. One

species just crosses the equator in southeast Asia. Major centres of

diversity are found in the mountains of southwest China, Mexico,

central Japan and California.
 

Many products derived from this family are associated with humans'
daily lives and activities. Most of the structural timbers used to fab-

ricate homes; most of the pulpwood used in the manufacture of news-

papers, magazines, and countless other paper products; and chemical

derivatives used in the manufacture of rayon, cellophane, turpentine,

and plastics are derived from the pine family. Certain pharmaceutical

preparations also contain compounds from this family of plants. Trees

of this family are also prized ornamentals.


Back to Inventory of Tree Families and Species

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