Pines are trees in the genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.
Pines are native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. In Eurasia, they range from the Canary Islands, Iberian Peninsula and Scotland east to the Russian Far East, and in the Philippines, north to just over 70°N in Norway, Finland and Sweden (Scots Pine) and eastern Siberia (Siberian Dwarf Pine), and south to northernmost Africa, the Himalaya and Southeast Asia, with one species (Sumatran Pine) just crossing the Equator in Sumatra to 2°S. In North America, they range from 66°N in Canada (Jack Pine and Red Pine), south to 12°N in Nicaragua (Caribbean Pine). Pines have been introduced in subtropical and temperate portions of the Southern Hemisphere, including Chile, Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, Australia, Argentina and New Zealand, where they are grown widely as a source of timber. A number of these introduced species have become invasive, threatening native ecosystems.
Pines are among the most commercially important of tree species, valued for their timber and wood pulp throughout the world. In temperate and tropical regions, they are fast-growing softwoods that will 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, more resinous, 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.
Many pine species make attractive ornamental plantings for parks and larger gardens, with a variety of dwarf cultivars being suitable for smaller spaces. Pines are also commercially grown and harvested for Christmas trees. Pine cones, the largest and most durable of all conifer cones, are craft favorites. Pine boughs, appreciated especially in wintertime for their pleasant smell and greenery, are popularly cut for decorations. A number of species are attacked by nematodes, causing pine wilt disease, which can kill some quickly. Pine needles are also used for making decorative articles like baskets, trays, pots, etc. This Native American skill is now being replicated across world. Pine needle handicrafts are made in the US, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua and India. Pine needles serve as food for various Lepidoptera. See List of Lepidoptera which feed on Pines.
Because pines have no insect or decay resistant qualities after logging, they are generally recommended for construction purposes as indoor use only (ex. indoor drywall framing). This wood left outside can not be expected to last more than 12–18 months depending on the type of climate it is exposed to. It is commonly referred to by several different names which include North American timber, SPF (spruce, pine, fir) and whitewood.