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Know your Christmas trees

1. Its clear pitch was used to mount microscope slides and attach theatrical disguises to bare skin. Loggers used to stuff their beds with its flat, fragrant boughs. And if you're looking for an outdoor Christmas tree, this fir's shingled structure sheds snow gracefully.

2. This pyramid-shaped tree often grows in old pastures. It's used for piano sounding boards, boxes, oars, and turpentine, as well as yule trees. Its roots were once gathered by Indians to tie birch-bark canoes. Today, paper made from its pulp is widely used in the newspaper industry. Cold-hardy, this stiff, prickly-needled tree is a popular windscreen on the Great Plains. Its blue variety (but still an evergreen) is a landscaping favorite.

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3. Sprays of its tiny leaves are wonderful to scratch and sniff! In fact, its odor is so strong that clothes closets and chests are lined with its wood to keep moths away. The wood resists decay and is often used for boats, shingles, pencils, and utility poles.

ANSWERS: (1) balsam fir; (2) spruce; (3) cedar.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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