Beyond Being a Christmas Tree: The Many Uses of Pinus Strobus

One of the most popular trees in the history of Northern America is the Eastern white pine, also called pinus strobus. You can date its roots to that era before the founding of the country and the arrival of Europeans in North America.

The Eastern white pine was one of the few rapidly growing conifers back then. It had become an excellent choice for reforestation projects, landscaping, and, of course, the most widely planted Christmas tree.

What most people do not know is that the pinus strobus is not limited to just being a joyful decoration. Read on to find out what else these magnificent conifers can provide.

Medicine

The extract alone from the white pine trees does not do much in terms of physical relief. However, white pine extract, in combination with a few other ingredients, makes for an effective cough syrup. The decoction of white pine bark, along with other herbs, can ease a persistent dry cough. Simply heat three parts white pine bark, one part licorice root, one part thyme leaf, and a half slippery elm bark into a boiling pan.

Construction

pine wood planks

Because of how the white pine tree became one of the most valuable trees across the Northeast, they were most suitable for the production of ship masts and spars. In the 1800s, those tall and straight trees were mainly reserved for the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom. The Europeans got much use out of the tree that it inspired a Pine Tree Riot and became the recognized symbol of independence for New England. Nowadays, you will find pine trees in most woodworks, such as barnwood beams and posts.

Food

Did you know you could make pine bark flour and needle tea out of pinus strobus? These two survival staples for the winter can easily be produced from extracted pine tree barks. The needle tea is easy to make: grab a tuft of green needles, finely chop them into smaller pieces, and boil them. A single cup of needle tea provides roughly four times the daily allowance of Vitamin C.

For pine bark flour, shave off the inner layer of bark as it is rubbery and cream-colored. Then dry the rest of the layers and grind them into powder. A single pound of white pine flour has about 600 calories. It is an excellent way to extend your food supply during winter by blending it with your other flours.

Glue

This is not limited to white pine, but extends to all species of pine — any form of pine produces a sticky glue-like resin that oozes from its wounds and open spots. You will find it on any pine trunk and branches, but if you look deeper, you will find large amounts of it from white pine specifically. This sticky sap can be improvised into a glue, which is adhesive enough to haft arrowheads and secure tools into handles.

When you find an Eastern white pine tree, try to store as much sap as you can into a metal can or seashell. Set the tin near the coals of a dying fire and wait for the turpentine and other volatiles to bubble away. Afterward, the sap should look wet but hard as a rock once it cools.

There are many ways you could use pine trees. While they do carry a significant amount of sentiment for the holiday season, they are also a highly versatile material. Get creative with your pine tree, and you’ll be making it the choice tree for every season — not just Christmas.

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