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Is Pinus Sibirica a representative of the genus “Pinus” (White Pine)?

There are many different kinds of unusual trees growing in the boundless Siberian taiga, one of the most unique species of which is the Pinus Sibirica (Siberian pine, Siberian cedar, Сибирский кедр (Sibirsky kedr)). It's time to figure out exactly what it is and why it is so interesting.

The main facts about the Pinus Sibirica.

The height of an adult Siberian pine tree can be 44 m, but usually, it does not exceed 35 m. In an old tree, the trunk girth sometimes reaches 2 m. The lifetime of Siberian pines may slightly exceed 500 years.

The length of the dark green needles of Siberian pines is sometimes equal to 0.14 m. Needles form bundles, each of which has strictly 5 needles. The root system is quite short: it is formed from rod roots with intensive branching.

Pinus Sibirica blooms in the middle of summer. The time of collecting cones falls in August and in the first days of September. The collected tree seeds can be stored in a proper conditions for a maximum of 10-12 months.

Siberian pine is characterized by the formation of a dense crown in the form of a sharp cone. As the tree matures, it becomes wider. The smooth bark is initially colored gray, later it acquires a gray-brown color and is covered with furrows. Young shoots have a thickness of 0.6-0.7 cm, are colored in a light brown tone, and are covered with thick red hair. The buds of this tree do not contain resin, they reach 0.6-1 cm in length.

The needles can last on the branches for 2-3 years. Direct cones are shaped like an egg or elongated in length. Pines begin to bear cones in the second year after flowering.

The mature cone reaches a length of 0.06-0.13 m, it is characterized by tightly pressed scales, the shields on which are thickened. There may be 30-150 seeds in the cone. The peak of fruiting (falling of cones) falls in August and early autumn. Under favorable conditions, 1000-1500 cones can fall from a large pine tree.

Pinus Sibirica can be found in:

  • Ural, Siberia, and specifically Altai Mountains, in their foothills;
  • Mongolia;
  • Few parts of northern China;
  • Sikhote-Alin (a mountain system of volcanic origin in the Far East, stretched along the coast of the Sea of Japan).

But the most interesting fact is that in Russia the Pinus Sibirica is called "cedar", although in reality it is not cedar and is not included in the family to which the Himalayan and Lebanese cedars belong! Biologists believe that this is a representative of the genus "Pinus" ("White Pine"), and not of the genus "Cedrus".

Sibirsky kedr (Siberian cedar) in tree systematics and why does it not belong to the cedar family?

It is obvious that pine and cedar are not only representatives of different species, but also of different Genus. But in Russian it has the official name "Сибирский кедр" (literal translation – "Siberian cedar"), that is, it would be logical to attribute it to the genus "Cedrus". What is the reason for this logical (or linguistic) collision?

The thing is that the official scientific name "Pinus Sibirica" ("Siberian pine") was received only in 1803. It is this name that is considered scientific and generally accepted in the academic community. At the same time, the written mention of the "Siberian cedar" on the territory of Russia occurs in the XVII century. From this, it can be concluded that the name Сибирский кедр (Sibirsky kedr) refers to a trivial (everyday, folk) name.

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