The pine tree has long been considered the tree of choice for the holidays, but there is more to a pine than putting presents under it. The pine tree is also known for its beautiful evergreen colours, its lovely aroma and its long needles and pine cones. Not only do pines look good in a living room with coloured lights on them, they also make a great addition to backyards and courtyards. But it may be a good idea to know how to identify these gentle giants, whether hiking in the wilderness or simply picking some new foliage.
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Look for needles, which stand in for leaves as pines' style of foliage. Some pines may have shorter needles than others, due to either age or species difference, but for the most part pine needles tend to grow around six to 10 inches long and stay evergreen until they die.
Scout out pine cones. These can vary in size across species, but they can easily be recognised as scaly, egg-shaped balls. They may be seen on the ground in forests or even in more urban areas, and although they may not be directly under a tree, this usually signifies that there is a pine tree somewhere nearby.
Find cylindrical yellow, green and red flowers. These tend to look like baby pine cones and are often mistaken as such. They bud in clumps near the tips of twigs or short branches.
Look for shallow fissures in the bark. Adult pine trees will have reddish-brown bark with shallow cracks and fissures. Some species also tend to have thin scales on their bark that may flake off with age.
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