Pinus gerardiana Wall. ex D.Don, Descr. Pinus ed. 3, 2: 144 bis 1832. (Syn: Pinus aucklandii Lodd. ex Gordon [Invalid]; Pinus chilghoza Knight [Invalid]; Pinus gerardii J.Forbes [Spelling variant]; Pinus neosa Gouan ex W.H.Baxter [Invalid]);

E. Afghanistan to WC. Himalaya as per WCSP;

Afghanistan; China, S Xizang (Tibet); India, Jammu-Kashmir; N Pakistan as per Catalogue of Life;

Found in eastern Afghanistan; China, S Xizang (Tibet); India, Jammu-Kashmir;and northern Pakistan. The extent of occurrence is beyond the thresholds for a threatened category. The area of occupancy for natural forests is uncertain but is likely to be less than 2,000 km2, given the naturally fragmented nature of its distribution and relatively small subpopulation sizes. There are more than ten locations. 

Pinus gerardiana grows in the mountains from about 2,000 m to 3,350 m above sea level. In the Himalayas this means that this pine is restricted to valley floors between very high mountain ranges, which isolate different populations to a certain extent. It prefers dry, sunny slopes where the vegetation is more or less open. In Afghanistan this pine is cultivated for its edible seeds. They are evidently dispersed by birds, as is the case with other wingless or nearly wingless pine seeds, but detailed studies to identify the bird(s) and the role they play in the survival of this pine have not yet been undertaken.       
(From IUCN Red List (NT) on 11.12.13)

Pinus gerardiana, known as the Chilgoza pine (Urdu: چلغوزا پائن in Persian it means 40 nuts in one cone:چهل و غوزه), ‘noosa’, or ‘neoza’, 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 Cedar (Cedrus deodara).
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.
This species is listed as lower risk, near threatened. Overcutting, and intensive grazing causing poor regeneration, may result in the extinction of this pine species. The Himachal Pradesh State Forest Department has tried artificial regeneration of Chilgoza Pine at many places. However, performance of seedlings was found to be very poor.
The scientific name commemorates Captain Patrick Gerard, a British army officer in India. It was introduced to England in 1839, where it grows well in the warmer drier areas of the southeast, but is very rarely planted.
Chilgoza Pine is well known for its edible pine nuts, rich in carbohydrates and proteins. The seeds are locally called and marketed as “Chilgoza”, “Neja” (singular) or “Neje” (plural). Nearly 20 percent of the Pakistani forests consist of Chilgoza trees. Chilgoza is one of the most important cash crops of tribal people residing in the Kinnaur or Kunnar district of Eastern Afghanistan. It can be rightly established that in Afghanistan, it is found only in Kunnar, besides few other places in the world including Kabul. The seed is very expensive and fetches good money to the local people in Kinnaur. Sold at approximately PKR 1500-2800 INR 1800-2400 ($20-$53) per kilogram.
(From Wikipedia on 11.12.13)

Pinus gerardiana from Paddar valley J&K.

Vernacular name is Chilgoza Pine.
Pine species with edible seeds

Thanks … for showing us this one.


Gymnosperm Fortnight: Pinus gerardiana: 101213: GSG-03 : Attachments (2).  5 posts by 5 authors.
Pinus gerardiana, ‘Chilgoza’ or ‘Neoza’ Pine, has good wild occurrence in drier inner valleys of Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh with small presence in Bharmour and Pangi areas of Chamba district.

Thank you for showing this Chilgoza pine. Though similar habitats occur in parts of Uttarakhand, it is not known to occur here.

As per efi thread: Female Cones of 4 Pinus species of Himachal Pradesh 1. Pinus wallichiana 2. P. roxburghii 3. P. gerardiana 4. P. patula (Cultivated, Central American)

Female Cones of Pinus spp. in Himachal Pradesh ATJUNE2016/07 : 11 posts by 4 authors. Attachments (1)

Female Cones of 4 Pinus species of Himachal Pradesh
1. Pinus wallichiana
2. P. roxburghii
3. P. gerardiana
4. P. patula (Cultivated, Central american) 

Nice plate …, Please see if the labelling is alright, the third one seems to me P. roxburghii instead of P. gerardiana…!!

Your concerns may be right. Actually, opened cones look alike in many Pinus species. It is surely P. gerardiana. I have seen its seeds myself. Seeds are long in P. gerardiana as compared to P. roxburghii. Secondly, megasporophylls in P. gerardiana  easily shatter but they are quite persistent in P. roxburghii. Overall size of cone is smaller in P. gerardiana as compared to P. roxburghii. Moreover, I had procured two cones from a reliable source in Kinnaur, where it naturally occurs. Second cone shattered badly and have to be thrown. P. roxburghii does not occur in Kinnaur (high altitude area).
Let’s make our next tour to Sangla valley in Kinnaur in September (season for Chilgosa and wild flowers). We will get entirely new flowers there.
These links make be helpful.

Pinus roxburghii (left) and  P. gerardiana (right)


Comparison between seeds of Pinus roxburghii and P. gerardiana. Attachments (1)



Pinus gerardiana from slightly different angle. Attachments (1)

Thanks a lot … for detailed submissions…!!



Pinus gerardiana AT NOV 2016/09 : 5 posts by 2 authors.
Chilgosa Pine
Pinus gerardiana
This species occurs in Kinnaur area of Himachal Pradesh. The seeds are
valuable as dry fruits.
These cones were brought by my student, who
lives in Kinnaur.
October 2016

Attachments (1)

Attachments (1)


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