Ronald Lanner's Tree World

A singleleaf pinon cone spreads its scales to display its nutritious nuts to potential dispersers. Photo by David Lanner.

What the reviewers think --

"The Pinon Pine is beautifully written. From the preface through the final chapter on the pinon-juniper woodland, this book makes for enjoyable reading." (Western Historical Quarterly)

"With over 200 references, reinforced with his own fieldwork, Lanner binds science, cultural history, and environmental issues into a neat package." (Journal of Forestry)

"This book is written with the understanding of ways in which man, animal, and plant must live together if the quality of life is to be preserved." (The
Bloomsbury Review)

"A well-written and often witty survey of the natural history of pinon pines, spiced with observations on their importance to the native Indians and subsequent European settlers....The engaging text and copious pictures make it difficult to put the book down, and the appendix of recipes for pine-nut dishes is an added bonus." (Library Journal)

The Pinon Pine -- A Natural and Cultural History, with a section on pine-nut cookery by Harriette Lanner

University of Nevada Press, 1981 (reprinted 2001)

Man, impressed by power, judges trees by their size. We name our giant Sequoias after generals and praise our redwoods, firs, and tall pines as stately or majestic.
Trees that live more modestly and that do not attain great heights are thought poor and humble, objects of pity. The pinon pine, "a broad tree with a round head, similar in size and form, but not in ramification, to the cultivated Apple-tree", is regarded as lowly, a pygmy, a dwarf, a scrub conifer.
But a tree is what you make of it, and once, much was made of the pinon. This little tree produced the fuel, building materials, food, and medicines that enabled pre-historic Indians to establish their cultures on the Colorado Plateau -- and to survive into the present as Hopi, Zuni, Pueblo, and Navajo. It was the pinon that made the Great Basin the coarse-grained Eden of the pine-nut eaters who picked their winter sustenance from the treetops: the Washo, the Shoshones, the Paiutes.
Pinon country, where these trees grow, is sprawling country. It stretches from trans-Pecos Texas to the Santa Ynez Mountains of southern California, and from the south of Idaho deep into Mexico. It lies between the deserts and the high places.
Our story traces a wavy line through time: geological, prehistoric, historic, and current. It documents a changing relationship between man and woodland, from one in which man's fate was determined by the bounty of the ecosystem to one in which man modifies, even destroys, that ecosystem for immediate profit.
(from the Preface)


Woodlands of Pinon Country

Through Time and Space:How Pinons Came to Pinon Country

Origin of a Species: How the Singleleaf Pinon was Born

Closing the Circle: How Hybrid Trees are Formed

Rats, Pines, and Prehistory: How Pack Rats Help Man Read the Past

A Place to Live, Something to Eat: A Tree is What You Make It

Feathered Cultivators: Birds That Plant Trees in the Desert

Man Meets Tree, Tree Meets Man: Beginning a Lasting Relationship

Food That Grows on Trees: Prospering in the Great Nut Grove

Reading Nature's Message

The Pinon in Indian Myth

Better Than Those of Castile: Men on Horseback Come to Pinon Country

Pine Nuts as a Foodstuff

Science Finds the Pinon

Fuel For a Silver Empire

Turning Woodlands into Pastures: The Hard Way

Tomorrow's Woodland

Pine-Nut Cookery, by Harriette Lanner




This book is 5 1/​2 X 8 1/​2 inches, and has xiii+208 pages. There are numerous black/​white illustrations, a detailed 12-page index, and an exhaustive 10-page bibliography. The section on pine-nut cookery contains 32 recipes, from salads to desserts, and instructions on picking, cooking, and storing pine nuts.

The Pinon Pine is available in paperback from bookstores nationwide, and from the publisher at $16.95.

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Color illustrated regional tree guide
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A Co-evolutionary Tale of Pines and Corvids for anyone interested in plants or animals.
The birds bury the seeds and the sprouting trees eventually feed the descendants of those birds. A Mutualism that enlivens the Rockies, Sierra, Alps, and more.
The Original Fall Colors Guidebook for Leaf-Peepers and Tree Nuts
The science of fall color change in the leaves of our Northeastern hardwood forest with essays on the natural and cultural history of the major trees that contribute to the annual spectacle.
First volume in the Fleischmann Great Basin Natural History Series
The much sought-after, but out-of-print classic on the trees between the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada
A Southwestern classic on the tree that enriched human life on the desert edge
An all inclusive view of the woodland-forming pinon pine, which grows where few other trees can, and whose nutritious nut-like seeds have allowed birds, quadrupeds, and human cultures to thrive in the arid Southwest and Great Basin.

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