Selected Trees and Shrubs
Pinus caribaea, Common name: Caribbean Pine
Plant Family: Belongs to the Pinaceae or Pine family, which includes several tropical and sub-tropical species such as the Pitch Pine Pinus elliotti of Florida and Pinus merkusii of SE Asia.
Description: Evergreen conifer, with aromatic resinous sap, up to 45 m tall (145 ft) and 1 m in diameter (3.25 ft), often free from branches to a considerable height; bark grey to reddish brown, fissured and eventually shed in large flat wide plates; leaves are needles, usually in threes, 15-25 cm long (6-10 in), typically falling in 2nd year, crowded at ends of branches, yellowish or light green, linear, rigid, apex a horny point; basal sheath persistent, light brown, becoming dark brown or blackish, 1-2 cm long (0.4-0.8 in); male cones numerous in sessile clusters, 1-3 cm long (0.4-1.2 in); female cones 5-10 cm long (2-4 in) and up to 3.5 cm across (1.4 in), deciduous, scales tan or reddish brown; seeds with wings, usually mottled grey or light brown, narrowly ovoid, 6 mm long (0.2 in).
Natural Habitat: Well drained, tropical and sub-tropical lowland, upland and grassland areas, at elevations up to 800 m (2,600 ft) with rainfall up to 300 cm (120 inches); will adapt to a variety of environments but requires good drainage.
Origin and Distribution: Native to Caribbean and C. America; widely planted throughout the American, Asian and African tropics; found in the Central Forest Reserve in Dominica; propagation by seed which can remain viable for 5 years, or 10 years under hermetically controlled conditions.
Uses: Wide range of uses, including timber, pulpwood, fuel, land reclamation and resin production for turpentine; wood is also dried and used for floors and furniture.
Indigenous Legends: Maya Indians of C. America used the needles in religious ceremonies.
Rodolpho Salarzar and Dorthe Joker. "Pinus caribaea" CATIE Seed Leaflet No. 40. Danida Forest Seed Center, Krogerupveg, Denmark: 2003.
V.M. Nieto and J. Rodriguez. "Pinus caribaea" in Tropical Tree Seed Manual. USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC: 2003.
Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. "Pinus caribaea" in Plant Threats to Pacific Ecosystems (internet), USDA Forest Service, Washington, DC: 2003.
Robert A. DeFilipps. Useful Plants of the Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: 1998.
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