Who's In the Pine Family And Why?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by fredmcain, Jan 14, 2021.

  1. fredmcain

    fredmcain Active Member

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    QUESTION:

    Something that I've wondered about for a long time, what qualifies a conifer for being included in the pine family (pinacea)?

    I believe that in addition to "true pines", Douglas firs, true firs, spruces, larches, true cedars and hemlocks are all full fledged pine family members while redwoods, giant Sequoias, Thujas, cypresses and junipers are not. Is this right?

    Why aren't redwoods along with many other genera not in the pine family? I used to believe that to be included in the pine family, trees have to have volatile resins like turpentine. Is that it or are there other specifications that determine whether or not a coniferous genera is not included in the pine family?

    Regards,
    Fred M. Cain,
    Topeka, IN
     
  2. Sulev

    Sulev Well-Known Member

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  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Yes, that's right; the following 11 genera are currently included in Pinaceae:

    (subfamily Pinoideae)
    Pinus - pines

    (subfamily Piceoideae)
    Picea - spruces

    (subfamily Laricoideae)
    Cathaya
    Pseudotsuga
    - douglas-firs
    Larix - larches

    (subfamily Abietoideae)
    Cedrus - cedars
    Abies - firs
    Pseudolarix - golden-larch
    Keteleeria
    Nothotsuga
    Tsuga
    - hemlocks

    What makes Pinaceae is determined by the structure of the cones, and the genetics of their DNA. The cypress family (cypresses, redwoods, junipers, etc.) is less closely related than you might think - they have had separate evolutionary history from before the appearance of the dinosaurs.
     
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