Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pine Nuts


Investigating a Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)
Today Katrina and I hit the road again and drove down to San Diego to spend New Year’s Eve with her Grandparents.  We stopped at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on the way.  The Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana) is one of the many pines that produce nuts large enough to be worth eating.  Torrey Pine nuts formed an important part of the Kumeyaay tribe diet and are 19-20 mm long, which is larger than most other pine nuts.  Torrey Pine distribution is limited to Santa Rosa Island and the mouth of the Soledad River near San Diego, making it the rarest pine tree in North America.  Development appears to be the major threat as all the trees I saw in the reserve were thriving.   I put together a table of all the ethnobotanically significant pine nuts found in North America for those as curious as I was.





Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa)
We also found Scrub Oak (Quercus dumosa) growing on the hillsides but didn’t notice any acorns.  Evidently, they were not as preferred for acorn collecting as the larger oak trees to the east.
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