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Pinus roxburghii

Pinus roxburghii
Pinus roxburghii

Thanks again to Douglas Justice for both today's write-up and photographs.

As I wrote the other day, last year at this time my wife and I were in India. Driving through Corbett Park on the way to our “forest rest house,” we passed through forested rolling hills and crossed a number of washes and streams. It was while bouncing along over one of these boulder-strewn washes at about 1200m elevation that I noticed what were clearly pine trees in the distance. We did stop, after much pleading, but I had to take the photographs from inside the vehicle (it is a tiger reserve).

Pinus roxburghii is a fairly wide ranging species, common in the Himalayas at low elevations from Pakistan in the west through northern India and Bhutan in the east. Both from a distance and close-up, I guessed that it was a three-needled pine, reminiscent (at least to me) of Pinus ponderosa (western yellow pine). Chir pine is somewhat distantly related to any of the North American three-needled pines, however. According to most accounts, this species is more closely related to Pinus pinaster (maritime pine) and Pinus canariensis (Canary Islands pine). Keith Rushforth (in Conifers, Christopher Helm, London, 1987) notes that fossils show Pinus roxburghii and Pinus canariensis once formed a single population across southern Europe to the Himalayas.

Chir pine is named for the so-called father of Indian botany, the Scotsman William Roxburgh. As for the etymology of the name “chir,” I can only find that in Urdu, chir means milk. My guess is that the resin, which is utilized for a wide variety of uses (see the Wikipedia entry), is white. Perhaps one of our Indian Botany Photo of the Day correspondents and/or a chir pine expert can expand on this.

7 Comments

OK... If you had to take the photos from inside the car, how did you get your 5 rupees back? ;-)

Nice pic!

Grammatical point: the species is named after Roxburgh (i.e., in his honour) not for him (i.e., at his request).

Pinus roxburghii - Z9 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths
Pinus roxburghii - only suitable for the milder areas [of the British Isles]. Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs, 2003

Michael:

There are 34 entries under "for" in my dictionary (which is somewhat dated), one of which is "on behalf of", which gets the point across. Regardless, your comment strikes me as pedantic and only distracts from the enjoyment of the photo. I think you or someone of similar mindset has made other like comments on Botany Photo of the Day. Although I have no desire to discount the importance of good grammar, the point you make is so obscure as to be meaningless. Would it be possible to just try to enjoy the photo and not engage in unnecessary criticism?

I agree the critique of for was wrong, his English is shaky even if its his only language.
Lets try something else the Queen Charlotte Islands were named FOR Queen Charlotte or Sandwich Isles FOR
Lord Sandwich not the food he invented.
This is good usage and does not mean that either the
Lord or the Queen had anything to do with it.
Or say Copernicus Crater on the Moon after one Nicholas Copernicus.
For after both are correct.
The Islands now lost those names to political correctness being Hawaii and
Haida Gwaii anyway.
Fuchsia is named after for on behalf of in honour of and not by Fuchs.

Michael F -

I'm glad for the head's up on correct grammar. Clean and clear writing is a skill that not all fully appreciate.

"For after both?"

Believe it or not, we have one of these trees growing in our yard here in South Texas. We purchased it many years ago at Fanick's Nursery in San Antonio. Their original mother plant was damaged by an unusually cold freeze about 25 years ago and the top of the tree was killed. I think they have removed the tree now because of its unsightly appearance. Our tree is in bloom now, and I can send pictures if you would like. Just let me know. Right now, the only pictures I have are of the trunk, which is much larger than the one shown here, and it has an ivy vine growing on it.

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