Scots Pine
(Pinus sylvestris)

Click Here for Austrian Pine (P. nigra)

Simple
Needle/Flattened
Needle
Pairs

leaves

needle

pine wood

pine wood

Male flowers
Male flowers

Female flowers
Female flowers

cone 

distribution map

The leaves are needle-like, rigid, blue-green and arranged  in pairs, each 3-8 cm long and under 2 mm wide, smaller than those of most other pines. They are often twisted and their margins are very finely toothed.

ID check

Scots Pine is an evergreen tree, up to over 30 m in height, with a warm, reddish-brown or orange upper bark and a deeply fissured dark brown lower bark. It is a native of woodlands on acid soils in the Scottish Highlands, but is widely planted and regenerates from self-sown seed elsewhere.

Male and female flowers grow separately on the same tree (monoecious).

Crimson female flowers are arranged in pairs of inflorescences which develop into cones. The male inflorescences are yellow and arranged in clusters below the females on the same shoot.

The woody cones, 3-7 cm long, are smaller than those of Austrian Pine.

Facts

  • The wood is strong yet soft and easily worked. It is used for furniture, boxes, fencing, telegraph poles etc.

  • Scots Pine was once a major source of turpentine, but this now comes mainly from the Maritime Pine which is grown for this product in France.

  • The seeds in the cones are the main food of Crossbills (a large finch), whilst needles are eaten by caterpillars of the Pine Looper and Pine Beauty moths


Austrian Pine
(Pinus nigra)
Simple
Needle/Flattened
Needle
Sharp, single

 leaves

needle

wood

branches

cones

distribution map

The leaves are needle-like, rigid, dark green, and arranged in pairs, each 8-16 cm long and over 2 mm wide. They are coarser in texture than those of other pines and the pairs are grouped in distinct whorls on the branches.

ID check

Austrian Pine is an evergreen tree up to 30 m in height, with a dark grey to black, ridged bark. It is not native in Britain, but is widely planted as a windbreak or for ornament.

Male and female flowers grow separately on the same tree (monoecious).

The female flowers are red and arranged in pairs of inflorescences, which develop into cones. The males are yellow and arranged in a cluster of inflorescences.

The woody cones are 5-8 cm long when mature, which happens after 2.5 years.

The closely related Corsican Pine has twisted needles.

Facts

  • Austrian Pine was introduced into Britain in 1835 by Charles Lawson, a Scottish nurseryman after whom Lawson Cypress is named.

  • It is not as useful for timber as Corsican Pine, because its large branches produce big knots, which weaken planks made from it.

  • Austrian Pine is tolerant of salt-laden winds and air pollution and therefore is planted by the sea and in cities.

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