Chilghoza Pine
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Chilghoza Pine
ative Photo: Uttam Lal
Common name: Chilghoza Pine, Noosa, Neoza • Hindi: चिलग़ोज़ा Chilghoza
Botanical name: Pinus gerardiana    Family: Pinaceae (Pine family)
Synonyms: Pinus gerardii

Chilgoza Pine is a pine native to the northwestern Himalaya in eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India, growing at elevations between 1800-3350 m. It often occurs in association with Blue Pine (Pinus wallichiana) and Deodar. The trees are 10-20(-25) m tall with usually deep, wide and open crowns with long, erect branches. However, crowns are narrower and shallower in dense forests. The bark is very flaky, peeling to reveal light greyish-green patches, similar to the closely related Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana). The branchlets are smooth and olive-green. The leaves are needle-like, in fascicles of 3, 6-10 cm long, spreading stiffly, glossy green on the outer surface, with blue-green stomatal lines on the inner face; the sheaths falling in the first year. The cones are 10-18 cm long, 9-11 cm wide when open, with wrinkled, reflexed apophyses and an umbo curved inward at the base. The seeds (pine nuts) are 17-23 mm long and 5-7 mm broad, with a thin shell and a rudimentary wing. Chilgoza Pine is well known for its edible seeds, rich in carbohydrates and proteins. The seeds are sold as dry-fruits by the name "Chilghoza".

Identification credit: Uttam Lal Photographed in Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh.

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