Saturday, November 21, 2015

Seedy Saturdays- The White Pine Tree

Happy Saturday Everyone!  Another area tree for you.

This tree is native to eastern North America and is known to the Iroquois nation as the “Tree of Peace.”  The needles of the Eastern white pine make an excellent herbal tea and contain 5 times the amount of Vitamin C of lemons.  This type of tree is also used to make pine tar, which has multiple uses and is made when the roots, branches or small trunks of the trees are burned in a partially smoldering flame.  Pine tar can be mixed with beer to remove worms, mixed with sulfur to treat dandruff or be processed to make turpentine. 

The white pine also had many uses when it came to the Native Americans.  The Iroquois would call their neighbours, the Algonquians, the “Adirondack,” which means “tree-eater.”  This was in reference to the fact that the Algonquians would collect white pine bark during times of winter starvation, separating the inner and outer bark and using the white soft inner bark, after being dried and pounded, as a flour.  The sap of this tree was used by various tribes as a way to waterproof baskets, pails and boats as well. 

The British Royal Navy used white pine wood to build their ship masts, because it was high quality wood.    Pine was common and easy to cut, so many colonial homes were built with pine for paneling, floors and furniture, just like the floors in the Backus-Page House Museum!  Pine was a favorite tree of loggers since the wood is soft and consequently you will find cup-shaped depressions from normal wear and tear on almost every old white pine floor and there is evidence of this in the museum as well.  

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