Male and Female Cones, Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)

Pinyon Pines have a lot of cones again this year after a good crop last year.  It takes close to three years to complete the process, but the weather is clearly conducive to formation of nuts.

My trees seem to have more male cones, but I see female cones higher in the trees.

Male Cones Pinyon Pine

Male Cones Pinyon Pine

Then the prima ballerinas that we all want to see… the girls!

Female Cone Pinyon Pine

Female Cone Pinyon Pine

Yes I know it takes two but mama is the one passing out nuts.  The whole thing takes over 2 years at best, so no pine nuts this fall, but they are on their way.  I still have nuts from last year’s crop, because I have been miserly with them.  Market economy puts them at $20 per pound and I may collect enough to sell next time I have a crop.  Or just hoard them like I did my pecans in Texas.  Pinyon pines crop intermittently, every 3 to 7 years they say.  Three years if all goes well, but no crop at all in drought years.

Ahhh the generosity of Pinyon Pines in New Mexico.  Not only do they feed hundreds of thousands of people, they feed every critter in the pinyon-juniper food forest… and seed out their replacement too.  She is why I could call my five acres a food forest before I planted a thing.  I started with 5 acres of Pinyon Pine nut trees.  I call Pinyon nuts a major food group because the protein per pound is comparable to steak and contains all 20 amino acids.

Pinyon Pines have so many uses that they were considered our most valuable local food plant, still are.

Something else that is given to use by the Pinyon Pine is the resin it exudes when injured.

Pinyon Pine Resin

Pinyon Pine Resin

The photo shows the exudate from an old wound, and newer ones are paler and gold or amber colored.

Pinyon Pine resin has medicinal uses, but is also an aromatic and calming incense, exactly how it is collected, with any debris removed.  It can be dried and powdered and mixed with other scents and formed into incense balls or sticks.

This same Pinyon Pine resin can be steam distilled to extract its essential oil, with a very high yield in comparison to tree needles.  Alcohol tincture works as well.  In this case, use pure alcohol without water, then evaporate the alcohol to the resinoid or absolute.  The result can be used as a base note in perfumes or used medicinally.

I collected  Pinyon Pine Resin today, and put it in a 1 cup jar with alcohol.  I will update you on how long it takes to dissolve, then evaporate into a resinoid.

Supposed to rain tomorrow, but it is cloudy and I hear thunder today.  Came down off the hill, no need to be foolish.

Moved a few stones, and gravel.  Planted my Red Kuri Squash and Sugar Pie Pumpkins.  Both were already blooming under grow lights in the greenroom.  They have “visited” the back porch and will get 2 days of rain.

Red Kuri Squash

Red Kuri Squash

I hope they do well.  They have quite the reputation to live up to for flavor!  They say we will have an unusually warm summer, perhaps I will have good warm season vegetables this year.

Checked out rabbit trap videos online, decided I will live trap my wild rabbits during the winter season.  Depending on how many I get, I will clean and freeze or can them.  I have everything I need to build a trap laying around here, so I will document the steps and post it later.

No matter what else I plant, everything is subordinate to the Pinyon-Juniper Food Forest and its pervasive perfume.  Pinyon Pine is the backbone of my circular economy and its endless gifts are appreciated.



About rebeccatreeseed

I am a naturalist raised by naturalists. Treeseed is my earned name, while Rebecca is my birth name. I am of Northern European descent, with a quarter Irish.quarter thrown in. I suspect I was a product of northern invaders into Ireland into Ireland. but hard to say since DNA disproved the family story about Apache blood! I have found some odd ancestors to replace them. Last year I bought 5 acres of pinyon-juniper forest on the side of a mountain in Santa Fe County, New Mexico. I am fulfilling a lifetime dream of a cabin in the mountains and a food forest that will feed me and local wildlife. I want to share this new phase of my life with others that might be interested.
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6 Responses to Male and Female Cones, Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis)

  1. Helen says:

    Would love to have pine nuts but doubt I have room. Lucky you 😊

  2. Helen,
    Not to mention that they take decades to bear nuts! Better off with hazelnuts. If I had to wait for a tree I planted, I’d die of old age first. Shrubs produce quicker, but even for trees, Pinyons are slow.
    I planted a couple in Texas, they wouldn’t be bearing age yet.

  3. Helen says:

    Hazelnuts are native to Britain as well…. How big do the trees grow?

    • Helen,
      I think you have a native variety about 16 feet unpruned. I believe the Turkish variety gets about 30 feet. Mine are in the 16 feet range. Hazelnuts/filberts are my favorite nuts. Hazelnut butter is delicious too, add chocolate and I could eat a jar in one sitting. If you need them smaller, prune. I planted 2 this year. They will sucker out if they are happy…. I can only hope I get suckers! Very reliable and earlier than other nuts.

      • Helen says:

        Sixteen feet pruned, I can manage. My apple tree could reach to that, so I know what I’m dealing with. It would be great to have my own nut butter – no more airmiles for a sandwich 😊.

  4. Helen, that’s what I’m saying! You have lots of native edibles.

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