Radiata Pine

Latin Name: Pinus radiata

Image from WikispeciesOrigin: Native to small areas in coastal California.

Alternative Name(s): Monterey pine, Insignis pine after an earlier botanical name

Family: Pinaceae.

Known Hazards: The wood, sawdust and resins from various species of pine can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Habitat: The plant grows in well-drained and nutritionally poor soil.

Edibility Rating: 1 (1-5)

Medicinal Rating: 2 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics: An evergreen Tree growing to 65m by 10m at a fast rate. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to September, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Wind. The plant is self-fertile.

Dispersal: Seeds spread by wind.

Edible Uses

Condiment: A vanillin flavouring is obtained as a by-product of other resins that are released from the pulpwood.

Radiata pine plantation, Lightow, NSW

Radiata pine plantation, Lightow, NSW

Medicinal Uses

The turpentine obtained from the resin of all pine trees is antiseptic, diuretic, rubefacient and vermifuge. It is a valuable remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder complaints and is used both internally and as a rub and steam bath in the treatment of rheumatic affections. It is also very beneficial to the respiratory system and so is useful in treating diseases of the mucous membranes and respiratory complaints such as coughs, colds, influenza and TB. Externally it is a very beneficial treatment for a variety of skin complaints, wounds, sores, burns, boils etc and is used in the form of liniment plasters, poultices, herbal steam baths and inhalers.


Other Uses

Dye; Hedge; Herbicide; Shelterbelt; Wood. Very tolerant of maritime exposure and salt-laden winds, it is also very fast growing. Increases in height of between 1 and 2.5 metres per year have been recorded even in exposed positions, it makes an excellent shelterbelt tree. A tan or green dye is obtained from the needles. The needles contain a substance called terpene, this is released when rain washes over the needles and it has a negative effect on the germination of some plants, including wheat. Oleo-resins are present in the tissues of all species of pines, but these are often not present in sufficient quantity to make their extraction economically worthwhile. The resins are obtained by tapping the trunk, or by destructive distillation of the wood. In general, trees from warmer areas of distribution give the higher yields. Turpentine consists of an average of 20% of the oleo-resin and is separated by distillation. Turpentine has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc. Rosin is the substance left after turpentine is removed. This is used by violinists on their bows and also in making sealing wax, varnish etc. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc. Wood – tough and hard. It is light, soft, brittle, close-grained and not strong according to another report. It is widely grown for lumber in warm temperate zones and has been used for flooring, finishings and fuel.

Notes: Radiata pine is a tall evergreen conifer growing up to 50m tall in high quality plantation areas. The form of the tree in closely-spaced plantations is narrow while open-grown trees become spreading. Radiata pine bears separate male and female flowers on the same tree with the female flowers developing into woody cones with large numbers of winged seeds. Viable seeds may remain in the cones for several years and are often shed abundantly after fire which kills the parent tree.In the rush to reduce dependence on imports of softwood timber many thousands of hectares of unalienated native bushland were cleared and planted with Radiata pine. The extent of the plantation was often determined by adjacent land ownership and steepness of terrain. This meant that plantations often have a common border with conservation reserves and other native bushland. By 2003 there were over 716,500 ha of Radiata pine in Australia.A target of 16,000 ha was set for the ACT and this had almost been reached when major bushfires in 2001 and 2003 destroyed over 11,000 ha. A decision has been made to replant up to 7000 ha with Pinus radiata together with areas of native vegetation. The problem of weediness will reappear when the plantations reach seeding age.Pines have winged seeds which has aided their dispersal into bushland where they compete with native species. In practical terms it may never be possible to eliminate this dispersal while the seed source remains. Genetic modification to produce sterile pines which put more energy into wood production than reproduction appears to be the only solution to invading pines; however this scientific achievement is a long way off.

16 thoughts on “Radiata Pine

  1. Ken Ramsay

    I would like to find recipes for skin cleansing and treatment for acne conditions using the light coloured inner bark of the Monterey Pine / Pinus Radiata

    1. admin Post author

      Hello Ken,
      Thank you for commenting. I do not have any information about that. I would love to know how to do it though!

        1. Sam

          Hi Colin do you happen to know what pine variety in Australia is suitable for tea? I can’t seem to find out! many thanks, Sam

        2. admin Post author

          HI Colin, where do you get your information from?
          I understand that all pine needles are suitable if from a true pine ( pinus sp.)
          The only species of Pinus that’s said to be poisonous is Pinus ponderosa.
          I read in forums that people ahve been making tea out of radiata pine needle and enjoyed it.
          I never tried myself so I’d like to know your source, is this personal experience?

    1. admin Post author

      I am not sure. We all go by information gathered over the internet. I cannot vouch for un-reviewed information.
      Sorry, I cannot be more of help. Maybe someone else might add anything to this?



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