Pinus sylvestris

France, Auvergne

Scotch Pine, Scots Pine

  • Pinus sylvestris France, Auvergne

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Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Colombia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom

Growing Info

Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 24 hours
Stratification: cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: sow seed 1/8" deep , tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed

Introducing Pinus sylvestris, also known as Scotch Pine or Scots Pine. This unique pine tree is the only native pine species to northern Europe. Often used in forestry, the wood of the Scots Pine is highly versatile, suitable for pulp and sawn timber products.

With a rich history, it was one of the first trees introduced to North America in the 1600s. Notably, it has gained popularity as a beloved Christmas Tree in the United States, charming many households during the festive season.

One of the most remarkable traits of the Scots Pine is its adaptability. It can thrive in various soil types, making it a resilient choice for any environment. This species can be found across Europe and Asia, from Ireland and Great Britain to eastern Siberia. It stretches as far south as the Caucasus Mountains and as far north as Lapland, even growing at high altitudes between 1,200 to 2,600 meters.

In terms of botany, the Scots Pine is an evergreen coniferous tree that can reach heights of up to 25 meters. Exceptionally, mature trees can grow as tall as 35-45 meters, with a trunk diameter of up to 1.7 meters. Its bark is distinctive, with a dark grey-brown color on the lower trunk and a thin, flaky and orange appearance on the upper trunk and branches. The mature tree's defining feature is a long, straight trunk, topped by a rounded or flat-topped mass of foliage.

The Scots Pine is adorned with mesmerizing blue-green leaves, which can sometimes appear darker in winter or yellow-green. These leaves, commonly referred to as "needles," measure 2.5 to 5 centimeters in length. Fascicles of two leaves, often accompanied by a persistent grey basal sheath, create a beautiful arrangement. On vigorous young trees, the leaves may be longer and occasionally occur in fascicles of three or four at the tips of strong shoots. The duration of leaf persistence varies from two to nine years, depending on the climate.

Come spring, the Scots Pine produces red seed cones that eventually turn pale brown. These globular cones range from 4 to 8 millimeters in diameter during their first year, expanding to full size during their second year. At maturity, the cones take on a pointed ovoid-conic shape and vary in color from green to grey-green or yellow-brown. Cone scales feature a flat to pyramidal apophysis, often with a small prickle on the umbo. Seeds, with a blackish appearance, measure 3 to 5 millimeters in length and possess pale brown wings ranging from 12 to 20 millimeters.

For taxonomy enthusiasts, there are a few recognized varieties of Pinus sylvestris, including var. sylvestris, var. hamata, var. mongolica, and var. nevadensis. While these varieties exhibit minimal differences in morphology, they display distinctive genetic and resin composition variances. Notably, populations in westernmost Scotland have some genetic uniqueness compared to those in the rest of Scotland and northern Europe. Still, this distinction is not significant enough to be classified as a separate botanical variety.

With its irregular pyramid shape during youth and round or flat top as it matures, the Scots Pine is an excellent choice for Christmas trees. Its orangish-brown bark adds to its charm, making it a visually appealing tree that can adapt to diverse environments and soil types.

To learn more about the Scots Pine, its features, and growth patterns, visit our website for further information. Celebrate the holiday season in style with this remarkable pine species, widely grown and cherished as a Christmas Tree in the United States.

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