Crooked Run Valley
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.
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