Pine nuts are the edible seeds of some species of pines. There are about 20 species that produce seeds wich are largeenough to be cutlivated. Other species of pine nuts are too small to be consumed as food, although they're edible. InEurope there are two species of pine that produce large seeds. The better variety is the stone pine (Pinus pinea) which not coincidentally is also called "pine nuts pine". The stone pine (Pinus cembra) produces large seeds and it's able to survive in the most difficult areas. The pine nuts are rich in protein and have been consumed in Europe since
the Paleolithic. They are also a source of dietary fiber. Pine nuts are essential for pesto sauce and various other
dishes, including cakes. When firt extracted from strobilus, pine nuts are covered with a hard shell. The nutrition is stored in the female tissue (gametophyte) wich supports the sporophyte, or the seed. Despite some similarities, pine nuts are not nuts, since, being produced by gymnosperms, they don't have the outer carpel. Pine nuts are called "piñones" in Spanish and "pinoli" in Italian. In various parts of Italy they are also called "pinoccoli" or "Pinocchi",hence the name of the famous puppet Pinocchio. In other parts of the world other species of pine trees are cultivated.In Asia, in particular, Pinus koraiensis and Pinus gerardiana are cultivated. Four other species Pinus sibirica, Pinus pumila, Pinus armandii and Pinus bungeana are less used. In North America the three most common species are PinyonPine, Pinus and Pinus monophylla cembroides. Other species such as Pinus orizabensis, johannis Pinus, Pinus culminicola, Pinus remote quadrifolia Pinus, Pinus sabineana, Pinus and Pinus Torreyana lambertiana are less used. Seeds similar to pine nuts are also produced by species of the genus Araucaria.