(Oh, Christmas Tree)
When we moved into our home in Eckert, I wanted to have native plants. And so we planted the native pinyon pines planning on them to survive the drought, whenever it came.
Of course, like all trees, they are slow growing: Ours were less than three feet tall and now, 20 some years later, they're 11 or 12 feet.
For a pinyon pine to grow to the size of the one pictured above (to the left) in Al Schneider's photo, over 50 years would pass. More likely 80!
But this native tree has frequently been sold as a Christmas tree. In the past, one could even buy a permit to go into our mountains and chop down the pinyon, or any tree that seemed suitable as a Christmas tree.
In the evergreens or conifers, the needles or leaves come singly in firs and spruces, or in bundles as in the pines. And among the pines, the number of needles in each bundle is used as the basic distinction between species. In the arid regions to our south there may be only a single leaf (needle). In Nevada, the single-leaf pinon is found (pictured on the right for comparison of species). In more hospitable areas, as in Colorado, we have the Colorado pinyon with the needles coming in bundles of two. Our tree is labeled Pinus edulis (with pinus = pine and edulis meaning "edible").
The pinyon pine was a major food supply for the native people. The fruit does not ripen the first year but rather three years later. And several years may pass before the tree begins its seed cycle again. So the native people could judge when the pinyons might fruit again providing a reliable food source. And today, many people desire the pinyon nuts (I've read that they're an ingredient for various gourmet dishes).
And our pinyons have provided shelter for small birds for many seasons.blog comments powered by Disqus