seeds of Pinus cembra, Swiss Pine
Pinus cembra, also known as Swiss pine, is a pine tree species of the family Pinaceae. The plant’s synonyms include Apinus cembra, Cembra montana, and Pinea cembra. Other common names for the plant include arolla pine and stone pine. Pinus cembra has its origins in Europe where it grows in the Alps, the Carpathian Mountains, and the Tatra mountains. Countries that fall within this range include Switzerland, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Slovenia, Germany, Austria, Italy, Poland, and France. Pinus cembra can achieve a maximum height of 25 to 35 metres and a trunk diameter of 1.5 metres. The plant’s leaves occur in the form of needles which appear in groups of five and have a deciduous sheath. The leaves have a length of 5 to 9 cm long while the cones are 4 to 8 cm long. Seeds have non-functioning wings and a length of 8 to 12 mm. Pinus cembra is a popular ornamental plant within its native range. The value attached to this tree derives from its shape and beauty. The tree is also capable of withstanding strong winds and low temperatures which can fall to as low as -50 ˚C. The tree’s cones are also commercially harvested for sale to the manufacturers of schnapps. The cones contain the flavour used to enliven the drink. Collected tree seeds are also made available for sale as pine nuts. The seeds are not only edible but also contain a special oil which can be used as a condiment. The seeds are cooked for their delicious flavour while the oil is used as a drying agent. The leaves are a rich source of turpentine as well as a special green dye. Pinus cembra is a notoriously slow grower given it takes 30 years to grow to a height of 1.3 metres. The trees have long lifespans as well. The average tree can live as long as 500 to 1000 years.
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