Monday, November 14, 2011

An Old Friend

We drove to Chico last Thursday for the first time in many months.  Took a little Stretch break as we neared the Oroville Reservoir and was struck by the beauty of Gray Pine, Pinus sabiniana, AKA Foothill Pine.  Ironically, my favorite field guide to this region uses these politically correct two names for the pine that was formerly known as Digger Pine, yet adds "large heavy cones with savage spines." [italics mine]  The cones are certainly impressive, but I don't think I'd call them savage.  That implies a motive!  Very heavy, and I'd hate to get hit on the noggin by one.  I brought two cones home and photographed them on my front lawn.  I've eaten the seeds of this pine, and they taste very good.  However, the shells seem as hard as ebony and are very difficult to crack.  This pine has three needles per bundle so it's in the yellow pine group like the Ponderosa and Jeffrey Pines at higher elevations.  I'll share more information about this pine another day.

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