Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day
Today’s Topic: Fir vs Spruce vs Pine: How Can You Tell Them Apart?
To some, a Christmas tree is a Christmas tree. They are all roughly the same. But to others the differences are huge. Do you have a strong preference? Why? Today, a few notes on three distinguishing traits of the needles — single or clustered, flat and soft or round and pointy, and length. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE NUMBER OF NEEDLES THAT COME OUT OF THE SAME SPOT ON A TWIG
1. “If a twig bears needles in groups of two, three, or five, you can safely call it a pine.” (see above)
2. “If the twig carries its needles singly, it’s a good bet you’ve got a fir or a spruce.”
FLAT AND SOFTER (fir) OR ROUND AND SHARPLY POINTED (spruce, below)
1. “Pull off a needle, and roll it between your fingers. If it feels flat and doesn’t roll easily, it’s a fir.”
2. If the needle has four sides and, thus, rolls easily between your fingers, it’s a spruce.”
3. Just below are the flatter balsam fir needles.
PINE NEEDLES TEND TO BE MUCH LONGER
1. Pine needles can be up to 16 inches long!
2. Average length of pine needles: 3 to 5 inches.
3. Douglas fir needles: .8 to 1.6 inches
FOOTNOTES — Random tidbits — fragrance, musical instruments, the density of stands
1. “The Balsam fir is the most fragrant of the trees, making it the most popular Christmas tree variety…The tree was named for the balsam or resin found in blisters on bark which was used to treat wounds during the Civil War.”
2. Spruce: the Wright Brother’s first aircraft, “The Flyer” was built of spruce. Because this species has no insect or decay resistance qualities after logging, it is generally recommended for construction purposes as indoor use only (indoor drywall framing, for example). Spruce wood, when left outside cannot be expected to last more than 12–18 months depending on the type of climate it is exposed to…Spruce is the standard material used in soundboards for many musical instruments, including guitars, mandolins, cellos, violins and the soundboard at the heart of the piano and the harp. Wood used for this purpose is referred to as tonewood.”
3. Pine: “Pines are among the most commercially important tree species valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that grow in relatively dense stands, their acidic decaying needles inhibiting the sprouting of competing hardwoods. Commercial pines are grown in plantations for timber that is denser and therefore more durable than spruce (Picea). Pine wood is widely used in high-value carpentry items such as furniture, window frames, panelling, floors, and roofing, and the resin of some species is an important source of turpentine.”
A LINK TO THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:
Two special attachments below:
#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20
Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…
This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.