Our 2023 EFN seed catalogue is now online! 100+ new varieties. Over 40 different growers and foragers from across the country. A million thanks to all who make this possible, especially our amazing seed-house crew!
Siberian Swiss stone pine is a subspecies of the Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra), differing only in having slightly larger cones and needles with three resin canals instead of two. But the most important thing to know about this species is that a mature tree will drop copious amounts of delicious edible pine nuts, considered some of the best in the world. They have also long been used (as has the resin of the tree) for medicinal purposes, for making tan or green dyes, for pitch, and for turpentine. The timber is soft and easily worked, so is frequently used in construction and furniture.
Stone pines like these are part of the white pine group (Pinus subgenus Strobus) with needles growing in bundles (technically fascicles) of five. The young needles are edible and vitamin rich, and needles young and old can be used for a nutritious tea. Trees can grow to 120 feet tall, and they are cold hardy down to Zone 1! They may struggle in very warm climates. Growing pine nuts requires patience, as it might take a couple decades for them to reach maturity. But once they do, they can live and produce food for 500 years!
Our seed comes from the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY.
GROWING NOTES: Seeds should be warm stratified for 60 days, then cold stratified for 120 days, before soaking in water for 24 hours and planting (3/8"-1/2' deep). They prefer a light, well-drained, sandy or gravelly loam, and will grow faster in full sun.