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Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon

Gard. Mag. 16: 8 (1840).
Pinus insularis Endl. (1847), Pinus khasya Hook.f. (1888).
Vernacular names
Khasya pine, benguet pine, khasi pine (En). Pin à trois feuilles, pin d’Indochine (Fr).
Origin and geographic distribution
Pinus kesiya is native to South-East Asia. It is planted throughout the tropics and has become a very important timber species, especially in southern Africa, for instance in Zambia, where it is the most widely planted pine.
The wood of Pinus kesiya (trade name: khasi pine) is used for construction, boxes, flooring, ceilings, panelling, joinery, furniture, poles and mine props. It is also suitable for ship and boat building, agricultural implements, turnery, veneer, plywood and railway sleepers. It is used for the manufacture of high-quality particle board, and its use as a pulpwood is increasing. The wood is used as fuelwood, for the production of charcoal and for torches.
Oleoresin of good quality is tapped from the trees. The oleoresin is distilled to give turpentine and rosin, Turpentine is used in the paint industry, and rosin in the production of paper, soap and glue. Pinus kesiya is planted as an ornamental.
The heartwood is red-yellow to red-brown, darkening upon exposure, and usually clearly demarcated from the 3.5–5 cm wide pale yellow sapwood. The grain is straight, texture medium to fairly coarse and uneven. Growth rings are distinct. The wood contains numerous resin canals, often visible as straight brown scratches on longitudinal surfaces.
The density of the wood is 400–750 kg/m³ at 12% moisture content. The wood air dries well, without serious degrade when it is well piled and closely stacked. Kiln drying is easy, but it is advised to use a mild schedule, as fast drying at high temperature may result in serious splitting and excessive resin exudation. The rates of shrinkage from green to oven dry are 2.3–7.0% radial and 5.5–11.5% tangential. Once dried, the wood is moderately stable in service.
At 12% moisture content, the modulus of rupture is 73–204 N/mm², modulus of elasticity 5700–20,700 N/mm², compression parallel to grain 32–78 N/mm², shear 5–13 N/mm², cleavage 10–19 N/mm, Janka side hardness 2220–4230 N, Janka end hardness 2120–3880 N and Chalais-Meudon side hardness 1.0–6.2.
The wood saws easily and can be worked to a smooth surface with all tools, but the high resin content may cause dulling of tool edges. The nailing and gluing properties are good, and the wood takes paints and varnishes well. It is easy to cut into smooth, tight veneer of uniform thickness at a cutting temperature of 50–70°C. During drying the veneer shows slight to moderate shrinkage and warping, and is usually split free. To obtain an acceptable quality of veneer it is often necessary to patch or fill imperfections in the wood due to the presence of knots and localized raised grain, and then to sand the surface.
The wood is only moderately durable. It is susceptible to sapstain and attacks by pinhole borers, marine borers, wood wasps and termites. The sapwood is not susceptible to Lyctus borers. The heartwood is moderately resistant to impregnation with preservatives, the sapwood is permeable.
The wood is suitable for mechanical and chemical pulping. The wood fibres are 1.6–3.7 mm long, with a diameter of 44–62 μm and a cell wall thickness of 4.3–7.2 μm. The chemical composition of the oven-dry wood was: holocellulose 57–65%, α-cellulose 37–43% and lignin 28%. The solubility in hot water is 2.8%, in alcohol-benzene 0.8–2.8% and in 1% NaOH 10.9–16.1%. Pulping of material from Zambia with the sulphate (kraft) process yielded 42–49% screened pulp, with a kappa number of 28–48. The energy value of the wood is about 23,160 kJ/kg.
Evergreen, monoecious, large tree up to 45 m tall; bole branchless for up to 20 m, straight, cylindrical, up to 140 cm in diameter; bark up to 4.5 cm thick, outer bark pinkish to reddish grey, reticulately and deeply fissured; crown ovoid in young trees, flattened or rounded in older ones; branches spreading, branchlets often with a waxy bloom. Leaves in bundles of (2–)3(–4), needle-shaped, (10–)12–21(–25) cm long, erect, flexible, soft, sharp-pointed, bright green. Male cone cylindrical to oblong, 3.5–5 cm × 0.5 cm, bright yellow or pale brown. Mature female cone up to 3 together, sessile or on a short stalk up to 1 cm long, pendulous, ovoid to ovoid-conical, (4–)5–8(–10) cm × 4–5 cm, shiny, with woody scales having a tiny prickle. Seeds narrow, 1.5–2.5 cm long, short-winged. Seedling with hypogeal germination.
Other botanical information
Pinus is a large genus comprising over 110 species, almost all restricted to the northern hemisphere. Many Pinus species are cultivated outside their natural distribution area, in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions. In the tropics 2 species are of outstanding importance: Pinus caribaea Morelet in the lowland humid tropics and Pinus patula Schltdl. & Cham. in the cooler highland tropics and subtropics.
The taxonomy of Pinus kesiya is still open to debate. The inclusion of Pinus insularis Endl. into Pinus kesiya has been disputed, because of their different field characteristics and products, and some authors contend that Pinus kesiya has not been properly described.
Wood-anatomical description (IAWA softwood codes):
Growth rings: (40: growth ring boundaries distinct); 41: growth ring boundaries indistinct or absent; 43: transition from earlywood to latewood gradual. Tracheids: 44: tracheid pitting in radial walls (predominantly) uniseriate (earlywood only); 54: latewood tracheids thin-walled (double wall thickness less than radial lumen diameter); 56: torus present (pits in earlywood tracheids only). Ray composition: 79: ray tracheids commonly present; 82: cell walls of ray tracheids dentate; 85: end walls of ray parenchyma cells smooth (unpitted); 87: horizontal walls of ray parenchyma cells smooth (unpitted). Cross-field pitting: 90: cross-field pits window-like (fenestriform); (91: cross-field pits pinoid); 97: 1–2 (large, window-like) pits per cross-field (earlywood only); 98: 1–3 pits per cross-field (earlywood only). Ray size: 103: average ray height medium (5–15 cells); 107: ray width exclusively uniseriate. Intercellular canals: 109: axial intercellular (resin) canals present; 110: radial intercellular (resin) canals present; (111: traumatic (resin) canals present); 117: epithelial cells thin-walled.
(P. Baas & I. Heinz)
Growth and development
Pinus kesiya grows fairly fast. In Madagascar 38-year-old trees were 46 m tall. Pollination is by wind. Cones take about 23 months to mature. In plantations trees start bearing seed when 5–7 years old. Pinus kesiya generally bears seeds abundantly every year. Seed dispersal is by wind, but sometimes also by birds, rodents or people.
Pinus kesiya is grown at (300–)600–1800(–3000) m altitude, in areas with a mean annual temperature of 14–23°C, a mean maximum temperature of the warmest month of 20–37°C, a mean minimum temperature of the coldest month of 2–18°C, an average annual rainfall of 700–2200 mm, and a dry season of 1–7 months. Pinus kesiya grows on a range of soil types, but prefers well-drained, neutral to acid soils. Once established the tree is fairly resistant to drought and frost. The tree is susceptible to fire damage during early growth stages. Pinus kesiya is a light-demanding pioneer species colonizing areas destroyed by fire or degraded by shifting cultivation.
Propagation and planting
Pinus kesiya is usually propagated by seed. The 1000-seed weight is 14–20 g. Seeds can be stored for several years under dry, cool and airtight conditions. Pre-treatment before sowing is unnecessary. The germination rate of fresh seed is about 95%, usually in 8–20 days. Mycorrhizae are necessary for seedling growth, so it is recommended to inoculate with spores or to add soil from near established trees. Seedlings are suitable for planting out after 4–7 months, when they are 20–30 cm tall. Normal spacings are 1.5–3 m × 1.5–3 m for timber production and 4 m × 4 m for oleoresin production. In industrial plantations in Zambia site preparation for planting consists of removal of the existing vegetation, destumping, filling of holes, ploughing to a depth of 25 cm and discing. Vegetative propagation is possible by cuttings, grafting or air-layering. In-vitro regeneration methods have also been developed.
Weeding is very important for establishment, and in industrial plantations in Zambia it is done 8 times during the first 3 years after planting out. Fertilizer may be added according to specific site requirements. In the Mangoro valley in Madagascar, for instance, Zn is deficient. Plantations are usually thinned. A schedule for Zambia is to thin to 740 trees/ha at an age of 6 years, to 495 trees/ha at an age of 9 years, to 300 trees/ha at an age of 12 years and to 185 trees/ha at an age of 21 years. In Madagascar 12-year-old trees were thinned from 1300 trees/ha to 300/ha, and 6 years later trees in thinned plots showed a much higher diameter growth than those in unthinned plots, whereas densities of the wood and shrinkage rates were similar. Pruning is necessary to produce high-grade timber, and starts when the tree is 6–7 m tall. Depending on production aims, rotations of 18–35 years are applied.
Diseases and pests
Pinus kesiya is susceptible to Dothistroma needle blight (Mycosphaerella pini). In Malawi damage by Armillaria mellea has been recorded. In nurseries damping off may occur. Pests include the grasshopper Mecostibus pinivora in Zimbabwe. In South Africa Pinus kesiya is heavily attacked by the pine woolly aphid (Pineus pini).
Pinus kesiya takes 25–30 years before it can be felled for timber.
Mean annual increments are 10–30 m³/ha. On good sites in Zambia trees reached a maximum annual increment of 40 m³/ha at age 18.
Handling after harvest
The wood must be converted or treated soon after felling, and open-stacked under shade cover.
Genetic resources
Substantial provenance variation has been recorded, indicating potential for selection and breeding. Provenance trials have been recorded in Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and South Africa, and seed orchards have been established in various African countries, including Malawi and Madagascar.
An important breeding objective is straightness of the bole. Hybridization is possible with Pinus merkusii Jungh. & de Vriese and Pinus oocarpa Schiede ex Schltdl. A protocol has been developed for the genetic transformation of embryogenic tissue, using biolistic transfer.
Pinus kesiya is a fairly fast-growing tree, and a useful source of timber and pulpwood. For tropical Africa it has best prospects at 800–1200 m altitude. Below 800 m its yield is lower than that of Pinus caribaea and Pinus oocarpa, whereas above 1200 m Pinus patula gives higher yields. As it rapidly colonizes degraded areas, Pinus kesiya may become invasive when introduced.
Major references
• Bolza, E. & Keating, W.G., 1972. African timbers: the properties, uses and characteristics of 700 species. Division of Building Research, CSIRO, Melbourne, Australia. 710 pp.
• Chilufya, H. & Tengnäs, B., 1996. Agroforestry extension manual for northern Zambia. Regional Soil Conservation Unit, Nairobi, Kenya. 120 + 124 pp.
• CIRAD Forestry Department, 2003. Pinus kesiya. [Internet] Tropix 5.0. asi/pinuskesiya.pdf. Accessed July 2008.
• Guéneau, P., 1963. Note technique sur quelques propriétés physiques des bois. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 23 pp.
• Lamprecht, H., 1989. Silviculture in the tropics: tropical forest ecosystems and their tree species, possibilities and methods for their long-term utilization. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH, Eschborn, Germany. 296 pp.
• Suhardi, Sosef, M.S.M., Laming, P.B. & Ilic, J., 1993. Pinus L. In: Soerianegara, I. & Lemmens, R.H.M.J. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 5(1). Timber trees: Major commercial timbers. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 349–357.
• Takahashi, A., 1978. Compilation of data on the mechanical properties of foreign woods (part 3) Africa. Shimane University, Matsue, Japan, 248 pp.
• van Wyk, G., 2002. Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon. In: CAB International. Pines of silvicultural importance. CABI Publishing, CAB International, Wallingford, United Kingdom. pp. 173–184.
• Webb, D.B., Wood, P.J., Smith, J.P. & Henman, G.S., 1984. A guide to species selection for tropical and sub-tropical plantations. 2nd Edition. Tropical Forestry Papers No 15. Commonwealth Forestry Institute, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. 256 pp.
• World Agroforestry Centre, undated. Agroforestree Database. [Internet] World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. Sites/TreeDBS/ aft.asp. Accessed May 2008.
Other references
• Armitage, F.B. & Burley, J. (Editors), 1990. Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon (syn. P. khasya Royle; P. insularis Endlicher). Tropical Forestry Papers 9, Commonwealth Forestry Institute, Oxford, United Kingdom. 199 pp.
• Bouillet, J.-P. & Lefevre, M., 1996. Influence des éclaircies sur la forme du tronc de Pinus kesiya. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 248: 17–30.
• Bouillet, J.-P. & Rakotovao, G., 1994. Eclaircie de rattrapage de Pinus kesiya à Madagascar. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 241: 5–28.
• Chudnoff, M., 1980. Tropical timbers of the world. USDA Forest Service, Agricultural Handbook No 607, Washington D.C., United States. 826 pp.
• Deb, C.R. & Tandon, P., 2002. Somatic embryogenesis and plantlet regeneration from mature zygotic embryos of Pinus kesiya (Royle ex Gord.). Journal of Plant Biology 29(3): 301–306.
• FAO, 1974. Tree planting practices in African savannas. FAO Forestry Development Paper No 19. FAO, Rome, Italy. 185 pp.
• Heinz, I., 2004. Systematische Erfassung und Dokumentation der mikroanatomischen Merkmale der Nadelhölzer aus der Klasse der Pinatae. PhD thesis, Technical University Munich, Germany. 209 pp.
• Ilvessalo-Pfäffli, M.-S., 1995. Fiber atlas. Identification of papermaking fibers. Springer Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 400 pp.
• Malabadi, R.B. & Nataraja, K., 2007. A biolistic approach for the production of transgenic plants using embryogenic tissue in Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gord. (khasi pine). Biotechnology 6(1): 86–92.
• Nandwani, D., Kumaria, S. & Tandon, P., 2001. Micropropagation of Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gord. (Khasi pine). Gartenbauwissenschaft 66(2): 68–71.
• Palmer, E.R. & Gibbs, J.A., 1969. The pulping characteristics of Pinus kesiya from Zambia and the Philippines. Report L16. Tropical Products Institute, London, United Kingdom. 20 pp.
• Palmer, E.R. & Gibbs, J.A., 1977. Pulping characteristics of Pinus kesiya and Eucalyptus grandis from Zambia. Report L47. Tropical Products Institute, London, United Kingdom. 24 pp.
• Parant, B., Chichignoud, M. & Curie, P., undated. Présentation graphique des caractères technologiques des principaux bois tropicaux. Tome 8. Bois du Burundi. CTFT, Nogent-sur-Marne, France. 82 pp.
• Parant, B., Chichignoud, M. & Rakotovao, G., 1985. Présentation graphique des caractères des principaux bois tropicaux. Tome 5. Bois de Madagascar. CIRAD, Montpellier, France. 161 pp.
• Prasad, M.S., Prasad, M.S.L. & Sharma, Y.P., 2002. Fungitoxicity of plant products against Pyricularia grisea. Annals of Plant Protection Sciences 10(2): 388–390.
• Rampanana, L., Rakotomanana, J.L., Louppe, D. & Brunck, F., 1986. Dessèchement en cime du Pinus kesiya à Madagascar. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 214: 23–47.
• Sallenave, P., 1955. Propriétés physiques et mécaniques des bois tropicaux de l’Union française. Centre Technique Forestier Tropical, Nogent sur Marne, France. 129 pp.
• Schmitt, L., Bouillet, J.-P. & Rafaly, T., 1995. Fertilizer application of Pinus kesiya in Madagascar. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 245: 45–57.
• Sutter, E., 1990. Introduction d’espèces exotiques à Madagascar. Rapport de synthèse. Troisième partie: fiches monographiques. Projet d’inventaire des ressources ligneuses, CENRADERU-DRFP, Antananarivo, Madagascar. 150 pp.
• Willan, R.L., 1985. A guide to forest seed handling. FAO Forestry Paper No 20/2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy. 379 pp.
Sources of illustration
• Suhardi, Sosef, M.S.M., Laming, P.B. & Ilic, J., 1993. Pinus L. In: Soerianegara, I. & Lemmens, R.H.M.J. (Editors). Plant Resources of South-East Asia No 5(1). Timber trees: Major commercial timbers. Pudoc Scientific Publishers, Wageningen, Netherlands. pp. 349–357.
Nyunaï Nyemb
Institut de Recherches Médicales et d’Etudes des Plantes Médicinales, B.P. 3805, Yaoundé, Cameroon

D. Louppe
CIRAD, Département Environnements et Sociétés, Cirad es-dir, Campus international de Baillarguet, TA C-DIR / B (Bât. C, Bur. 113), 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
A.A. Oteng-Amoako
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
M. Brink
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
General editors
R.H.M.J. Lemmens
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
L.P.A. Oyen
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands
J.R. Cobbinah
Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), University P.O. Box 63, KNUST, Kumasi, Ghana
Photo editor
G.H. Schmelzer
PROTA Network Office Europe, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, Netherlands

Correct citation of this article:
Nyunaï, N., 2008. Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gordon. In: Louppe, D., Oteng-Amoako, A.A. & Brink, M. (Editors). Prota 7(1): Timbers/Bois d’œuvre 1. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands.
Distribution Map planted

1, tree habit; 2, leafy twig; 3, bundle of leaves; 4, mature female cone.
Source: PROSEA

plantation, Madagascar

obtained from

15-year-old plantation, Madagascar

thinning of 8-year-old plantation, Madagascar