Contrasts between three widespread tree genera the pines beeches and oaks

These three genera include some of the most economically and silviculturally important species to be found in the world's woodlands and forests. All three provide valuable timber; examples of their foliage and reproductive structures are illustrated in Fig. 3.21. Though the pines and oaks have adapted very successfully to a wide range of habitats, the former belong to a more ancient group and the form of their mature trees is rather similar, though the number of needles per dwarf shoot varies from one or two in singleleaf pinyon Pinus monophylla to as many as eight in Cooper pine P. cooperi. Many, but not all, have winged seeds. While both beeches and oaks belong to the Family Fagaceae, there are more than 800 species of oak but only a dozen or so of beech, a widespread and notably shade-tolerant genus with considerably lighter seeds than oak.

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