What's this then?

Discussion in 'Plants and Biodiversity Stumpers' started by Michael F, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    I didn't see your answer before I wrote last. After that I was looking at this.

    http://www.pinetum.org/JeffPNpinceana.htm

    Gelderen/Smith photo must be habit variant - certainly not that unusual an occurrence - or another species.
     
  2. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I assure you that I did not follow the analysis above, so would appreciate a bit of illumination on section 3. After the three long needles and blue hue, I was gambling with what I thought may be a match in the Cones section at www.pinetum.org. I was also trying to get more visual information on Pinus lumholtzii, which I understand has weeping needles, but I did not find much. Do you have a closer view of what the following means?
    3. The young needle fascicles (left edge of pic) staying connate (the three needles stuck together) until they are full size.
    Also, if this tree were older, wouldn't the needles lose the blue hue?
    Thanks.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Just as I suspected! I thought the cone might've been the compared to another shown online to come up with that identification.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Laurie,

    Taking a peek at another cone from the same trees?? - I did wonder if someone might do that (yes, that one's mine too :-)

    If you look at the needles on the pendulous shoot at the left of the pic, you can see they all look to be single, not in threes. That's because the three needles are still stuck together; they stay like that for several months before separating. In most "ordinary" pines, the needle fascicles have each needle separate within a week or two of emerging from the bud, long before they reach their mature length.

    In terms of commonly grown pines that do this, your best chance of taking a look is with Pinus aristata - look at the current year's growth (still all green cylinders) compared to last year's (broken open into individual needles with the white inner surface now visible). This pic shows it fairly well:
    http://www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de/~db50/FOTO_-_Archiv/Pinus%20aristata%20NAm%20BotKA%20G2.jpg
     
  5. Laurie

    Laurie Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Following up on the comment regarding the photo in VanGelderen's encylopedia, I believe that I read that there is interbreeding suspected among certain pines in Mexico. As far as research, since I am fond of pines, I checked first with Stumpers Rules:

    Rule #2 - the answer has to be generic enough that it is answerable - it has to be something that a person could be either reasonably expected to know or be able to research.

    Most of the photographs that come through here are mysteries to me, especially the flowers. Most humbly yours ...
     
  6. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Laurie,

    Pinus pinceaea is not involved in any hybridisation - it is a very distinct pine (you could reasonably call it a living fossil) with no very close relatives (its nearest relative is P. maximartinezii, which is very different). It is readily identifiable - I'd say there are very few if any pines that are easier to identify. It is only its rarity in cultivation making it unfamiliar to most people that makes it a challenge, though I thought there was a good chance that some of the regulars here would have visited Mexico and seen it.

    The Mexican pines that are hybridising with each other are all 'hard' pines, in recently evolved, closely related species groups; most notably P. montezumae, P. hartwegii, P. pseudostrobus and their relatives (these are a real nightmare to identify!).

    PS way past bedtime here so any more posts will have to wait till tomorrow for answers!
     
  7. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    That's a most informative and educational stumper!

    I am no expert on trees, let alone pines. I followed with great fascination the expertise of the posters here and felt compelled to just sit back and watch in awe! I declare Michael my resident expert on pines!
     
  8. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I think for the Mexican Pines there has been
    some variation going on and we will see it
    when we take a Pine that is native to one
    area and grow it in another, especially if we
    are dealing with seedlings grown from seed
    from cones. We saw it in some seedlings
    from cones that came into the nursery. We
    can with some Pines see some elements of
    differing characteristics evolve over time
    and we have to wonder is it hybridization
    that has occurred or is what we are seeing
    due to environmental influences arising
    from different growing regions or are we
    seeing a natural progression the plant will
    undergo that we were not able to see
    happen with the parent plant. How could
    we see how the parent plant evolves if we
    were not ever there to monitor it?

    I have no problems at all with what Michael
    did. He had me going also in that I felt the
    Pine was of Mexican origin but I did not
    know for sure which one it was. As long
    as we stick with species forms then there
    is no one trying to fool people and that
    certainly did not happen in this case. It
    was a very good brainteaser for all of us.

    It is readily identifiable - I'd say there are
    very few if any pines that are easier to
    identify.


    My only caution would be to this statement
    above. I am not so sure that is true in this
    case. Even more true when we have not
    seen one in person to know for ourselves
    if this Pine is that easily distinguished
    from other Mexican Pines or other Pines
    in general. It is always much easier to
    for us feel that sentiment is true when
    we've been around the plant, know where
    the Pine came from and have grown it.

    Jim
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Jim,

    The seed was wild-collected, so there's no doubts on the identity (and all pine seeds come out of cones :-).

    There do appear to be one or two small environmental effects with it being grown under glass in Britain (tho' it is outside in warm weather in the summer), the stomatal bands are more obvious than they are on the wild trees at the end of a hot, dusty Mexican desert summer (which wears off a lot of the white wax), and some of the needles are a little longer than on wild trees (mine has a few 16cm needles on the main stem, but on wild trees they're only reported to 14cm - the ones in the quiz photo are all within the normal range though)
     
  10. mr.shep

    mr.shep Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Hi Michael:

    I am not questioning you, the Pine or its origin.
    I think by the responses we can see just with
    this Pine alone that with the Mexican and the
    Central American Pines there is a lot we do
    not know yet. We had mainly 5 needle Pines
    come in from Mexico, either from arboretums,
    or from cones collected from the wild just to
    grow seeds on and evaluate the seedlings. I
    only remember one of these Pines ever being
    propagated later at the nursery.

    It is hard to gauge by a partial photo exactly
    what we are seeing as even this Pine shows
    similarities to other North American Pines,
    even some Himalayan ones but many of the
    Himalayan Pines that we more commonly
    see are 5 needled. There has been a lot
    of confusion for years with Pines based on
    physical traits which is one reason why the
    Europeans studied the cones much more
    than we did here. With the cones then it
    did not matter if the Ponderosa Pine was
    grown in British Columbia, or in Yosemite
    or in the UK, the cones would be pretty
    much the same for identification purposes.
    We are more apt to see some varying physical
    characteristics in the Pines themselves more
    so than from the cones so we've had to study
    the traits that we see a little more than others
    have. It is here that what may seem easy to
    us after we've learned when the needle bundles
    open up, no longer stick together, is not so
    simple for others to see and know in other
    locations. The 5 needle bundles of a Pinus
    aristata
    in the UK may not look the same
    as they will here in Yosemite is what I am
    getting at. We will see those new growth
    bundles open up sooner than most areas will.
    The same will be true for many Mexican Pines
    as opposed to here when the needles are melded
    together and when they will separate. People
    in Mexico have not seen their Pines grown here
    so there is an assumption being made on both
    sides of which that reasoning may not be on
    the same page is what we learned the hard way
    when we asked a few questions and the people
    we talked to the South years ago did not know
    what to tell us in return.

    Jim
     

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