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Black Pine

Pinus nigra

The three black pines in the Park differ in their degree of "scragliness." See Wikipedia entry here.
The black pine is a variable species of pine, occurring across southern Europe from Spain to the Crimea, and also in Asia Minor, Cyprus, and locally in the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa.
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Black pine in east triangle
Black pine factoids:
  • Also called the Austrian Pine
  • All of our black pines in the Park happen to have double trunks
  • Long needles are carried in two per fascicle
  • The female cones tend to form whorls in groups of five but can occur singly.
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Black pine in northwest triangle
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Black pine in southeast triangle in August
Even from a distance the copious female cones in groups of five are seen.
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Black pine in southeast triangle in July
Last year's cones are below and will fall off this winter. The new cones are smaller and at top.
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Clusters of male cones (or pollen sacs) on April 15.
Six-second video of a cloud of pollen released from the black pine in the southeast triangle on April 16
Botany 101 Bonus
Let's talk cones. There are several conifers, or cone bearing trees, in the Park. This was briefly discussed on the pitch pine page. On the black pine, the prominent cones are the female seed-bearing cones that mature on the tree for 18 months. The smaller male cones appear and produce pollen in the spring. The male cones resemble small corn cobs and are soft. After the female cone matures, the scales unfold and release the winged seeds, as seen in the photo below.
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The wings provide a method of dispersal, and the seeds themselves are the bulges within the wing. In certain species of pine, these seeds, known as pine nuts, are large enough to be a reasonable source of food for humans. Smaller ones like those of the black pine are eaten by birds and small mammals.
Pines and other conifers are in the plant group called gymnosperms, which means naked seeds. Angiosperms are the other group of vascular plants (plants with tiny tubes to transport fluids around the plant). Angiosperm seeds are surrounded by a fruit, for example, an apple, cherry, or tomato.
Pine cones have become a symbol of immortality and enlightenment. Pine cones, and pineapples which derive their name from their resemblance to pine cones, have been used as welcoming symbols. For example, just outside of St. Peter’s in Vatican City is the “The Court of the Pine Cone” there is a huge (three story tall) bronze sculpture of a pine cone.
The pineal gland at the base of the human brain was thought to be the enlightened third eye of humans, and it does respond to light and dark in its secretion of melatonin. It is named the pineal due to its resemblance to a pine cone.
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