I love these pine trees. They prompt me to look up.
Their roughly barked trunks end in a tuft of pine needles that scratch the sky. As you can tell, I love the way they silhouette against the sky.
I’m not sure what kind of pine they are. Longleaf, Loblolly, or Slash.
I worked at it a bit. Tried to decipher the name from studying the bark, the number of needles on a clump, the nature of the cones. I even worked at finding out what kind of soil each grew in. But I didn’t have long enough, nor am I expert enough, to tangle out the differences between these three trees.
Naming does matter in more ways than one. However, I eventually decided to stop being technical and to sit with the tree and absorb its magic, mystery, and medicine. The name will come later when I pass this way again. By this way, I mean Florida and southern U.S. States.
The pine in general has a long history of mythology and folk medicine. Despite its ubiquitousness it was a much revered tree. It was a tree of life and hope during long winters.
Because the pine is evergreen, it is often linked to vitality and immortality in various mythologies. This is where the medicinal benefits and the folklore of trees intertwines.
Needles, inner bark, nuts, and resin are all essential in folk medicine.
Pine needles are high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A and make a wonderful tonic or tea. This tea is also considered to be helpful in staving of colds and congestion. Don’t just pick any pine needles to do this with. (See my comments above about my drive to identify the species of tree.) Know your species. White Pine is a good place to start.
I remember peeling pine sap off trees as a kid and chewing it, bugs, bits of bark, and all. I wonder if that was an instinctive need for the nourishment of this tree and perhaps the inkling that a cold was coming on or just the response to a dare from the other kids. Probably the latter.
I do love this tree and have always felt a kinship to the pine. Okay, not just the pine, but many trees. However, the pine gets us through the long winters by providing green and vitality and sustenance. Thank you pine.