Pine tree

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Pine tree
Pine (Pinus pinea) on Elba

Pine ( Pinus pinea ) on Elba

Class : Coniferopsida
Order : Conifers (Coniferales)
Family : Pine family (Pinaceae)
Subfamily : Pinoideae
Genre : Pine ( Pinus )
Type : Pine tree
Scientific name
Pinus pinea

The pine ( Pinus pinea ), also called the Italian stone pine , Mediterranean pine or umbrella pine , is a species of plant that belongs to the genus of pine ( Pinus ) from the pine family (Pinaceae). It occurs in the northern Mediterranean and is between 200 and 250 years old. The seeds, also called pine nuts , are edible.


Pine branches, on the left of a young plant, on the right of an older plant
Male cones
Ripe, closed cone
Unpeeled seeds (back) and hulled seeds (front)
Bark of an old tree
Pine ( pinus pinea )
Pine ( pinus pinea )
Pine trees on the Coto Doñana


The pine grows as a tree that can reach heights of 25 to 30 meters and a diameter of up to 1.9 meters at chest height . The trunk is cylindrically shaped and often forms Zwiesel . The branches are arranged in a whirling manner and curving upwards. Consistent branch cleaning of the trunk prevails both in free-standing trees and in the stand. The crown is rather rounded up to the age of 25 or 30. The typical pyramidal umbrella shape is only adopted when it is around 50 years old. It flattens out more and more with age. Side shoots are only formed at the tip of the shoot. The formation of St. John's sprouts rarely takes place.

Buds and needles

The cylindrical winter buds are about one centimeter long and are resin-free. The white-lined scales of buds have been pushed back a little.

The slightly curved, light green needles are 8 to 20 centimeters long and 1.5 to 2 millimeters wide. They are usually in twos, rarely threes, on short shoots . The needle sheath is about 12 millimeters long. The tip of the needle is pointed and usually colored yellow. The needle edges are finely sawn. Two resin channels can be seen in the cross section, which can also be missing. On each side of the needle stomata . The atria of these stomata are filled with rod-shaped wax particles. The needles stay on the tree for two to four years. Old needles are repelled in summer and form a thick layer of litter on the ground that is only slowly broken down and is easy to ignite. At the end of April to the beginning of May, the needles begin to sprout and reach their full size in autumn of the same year.

Flowers, cones and seeds

The pine is single-sexed ( monözisch ) and begins to produce seeds between 15 and 20 years of age. The male cones are formed instead of needled short shoots at the base of this year's long shoots in the lower crown area. They are yellow and usually dust in May. The female cones form below the tip of this year's long shoots in the upper crown area. They are egg-shaped, reddish-brown in color and are around an inch long. They either sit directly on the long shoot or have a short stalk. Two years after pollination, the cones are 8 to 16 inches long and 7 to 10 inches thick. They are greenish in color and have red corrugations. On each of the relatively large cone scales there are two seeds that, unlike most pine species, only ripen in autumn of the third year. The reason for this late ripening of the seeds is the late fertilization, which only takes place around 24 months after pollination. The seeds are released the following spring. The hard-shelled seeds are edible and are 15 to 20 millimeters long and 7 to 11 millimeters wide. A seed wing is only rudimentary . The thousand grain weight is between 500 and 1100 grams. The seedlings have (10 to 12 cotyledons cotyledons ).

Chromosome number

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 24.

Root system

As early as the first year, seedlings form a taproot with only a few lateral roots. Later, lateral roots are formed, especially in the upper soil layers. The taproot does not penetrate deeper than 80 to 180 centimeters even on sandy soils. Root adhesions with neighboring trees often occur. The pine forms an ectomycorrhiza , which improves its ability to absorb phosphorus and the growing conditions in nutrient-poor locations and makes it more tolerant of lime. As mycorrhizal partners occur mainly of Tonblasse Fälbling ( Hebeloma crustuliniforme ) hebeloma sinapizans ( Hebeloma sinapizans ) of reddish paint Deceiver ( Laccaria laccata ), which Kahle Kremp Ling ( Paxillus involutus ), the Suillus granulatus ( Suillus granulatus ) and Tuber albidum on .


The bark of trees up to five years old is smooth and ash gray. Older trees have a bark that consists of relatively large, reddish-gray plates separated by deep longitudinal cracks. The inner bark is cinnamon colored. The bare shoots are initially green and later turn yellowish-green.


The heavy and resinous wood consists of a whitish to pink colored sapwood that surrounds a yellow- red core . The annual rings , like the transitions between early and late wood and the regularly distributed wood rays, are clearly recognizable. Incorrect annual rings often appear. There are numerous, relatively large resin canals, especially in late wood. Pine wood has a relatively coarse texture and is not very durable.

Parameter value unit
Bulk density (r 12 ) 450-870 kg / m³
modulus of elasticity 135,000 kg / cm²
Compressive strength 410 kg / cm²
Shear strength 70 kg / cm²
Flexural strength 830 kg / cm²
Shrinkage (volume) 10.8 %

Frequent mix-ups

In the media (television, illustrated books, Internet) the pine (Latin: Pinus pinea , English: Stone Pine ) is sometimes confused with the Aleppo pine (Latin: Pinus halepensis , English: Aleppo Pine ), which dominates the Mediterranean region . The English name of the generic name Kiefer , pine , is usually incorrectly translated as pine .

Distribution and location

The natural distribution area of ​​the pine is in the northern Mediterranean and extends from the Iberian Peninsula to Anatolia . It is believed that some stocks on the Black Sea coast are also of natural origin. In Anatolia, Italy and Spain in particular, the species was planted so frequently that it is difficult to say which populations are artificial and which are natural. Rikli believes the species originally came from the Iberian Peninsula and was later spread by humans. Pavari names the Monti Peloritani in Sicily as their original home, while according to Parlatore this applies to Crete .

The pine is a warmth-loving light tree that primarily inhabits oceanic regions and is considered to be very drought-resistant. The annual rainfall is 400 to 800 mm depending on the region and is not evenly distributed over the year, summer droughts of 2 to 6 months can occur. The maximum temperatures are above 30 ° C and the minimum temperatures rarely drop below 0 ° C. You can find the pine from the coast up to an altitude of 1000 meters. Only minor demands are made on the quality of the floor. Fresh, weakly acidic or acidic sands are preferred as the location. Calcareous substrates as well as pure limestone soils are tolerated. The species tolerates a pH value of 4 to 9. Salty substrates and wet locations are avoided.

The pine occurs in both pure and mixed stands. Pure stands are always artificially created and have practically no undergrowth. If the management and maintenance of the pure stands is discontinued, they gradually transform into mixed stands. The species often forms mixed stands with the maritime pine ( Pinus pinaster ), the holm oak ( Quercus ilex ), the downy oak ( Quercus pubescens ) as well as with other Mediterranean and sub-Mediterranean hardwood plants .

Diseases and pests

Among the abiotic damaging factors, cold, snow breaks, forest fires and windthrow play the greatest role. The pine tree is particularly sensitive to low temperatures when the air humidity is high. When the humidity is low, it can withstand temperatures as low as −25 ° C without serious damage. Branches can break, especially in wet snow. Wind throws occur mainly in old stands due to the flat roots. A high water table and root rot increase the risk. Because of the high resin content of the wood, the pine is at risk of forest fires, especially in summer. A treetop fire is usually prevented by the lack of soil growth and the high crown. The pine is also sensitive to immissions and detergents , which primarily damage the needles. A complex disease that is probably triggered by drought, immissions and other factors leads to needle browning and loss that begins at the base of the crown and progresses to the tip.

The root sponge ( Heterobasidion annosum ) can be pathogenic in the pine and lead to gaps in the stand. Fresh May shoots are attacked by the rotating pine grate ( Melampsora populnea ), which causes shoot curvature. The rust fungus Cronartium flaccidum , the causative agent of the Kienopf , attacks the bark.

The pine processionary moth ( Traumatocampa pityocampa ) has the greatest importance among the harmful insects. The caterpillars overwinter in conspicuous nests in the crown area. After the caterpillars leave these nests in spring, they start to feed on the needles. An infestation seldom leads to the death of a tree, even if the needle losses are high. The moth can be successfully combated by removing or damaging the caterpillar nests and with the help of Bacillus thuringiensis . The pine moth ( Rhyacionia buoliana ) drills holes in the buds to hibernate there. The May shoot that sprouts from it is hollowed out and either dies or kinks. The bark beetle Tomicus destruens lives in tunnels in the bark that extend to the cambium . Branches weakened by the infestation can break off in rain or wind. An infestation can be recognized by many small swellings and by yellowish-red drops of resin on the bark. The pine weevil ( Pissodes castaneus ) primarily attacks weakened trees in young crops. The adult beetles gnaw holes in the bark.


The seeds, the so-called pine nuts, have the greatest economic importance . Depending on its location, a tree provides between 10 and over 60 kilograms of seeds. These are peeled and are used in the food and confectionery industries. The empty cones and seed coats are a sought-after fuel. Because of the seeds, the species was already cultivated in ancient times. The not very durable pine wood is often attacked by insects and fungi. In contrast to the wood of other conifer species, the quality and density of pine wood increases as the annual ring width increases. It is mainly used as construction and furniture wood and to make masts. Due to its high resin content, it is only partially suitable for carving work. It is also often grown for shading and greening tent and rest areas. The bark is used as bark mulch .


The pine is placed within the genus of the pines ( Pinus ) to the sub-genus Pinus of the Pinus section and the Pinaster sub- section . It is considered to be genetically largely uniform and attempts to cross it with other pine species have failed. Only one variety is known:

  • Pinus pinea var. Fragilis Duhamel has small seeds with soft seed coats that are covered with a black coating that is difficult to remove.

The soft skin of this variety is already mentioned in the Historia mundi of Pliny the Elder and is inherited recessively .


In Christianity the pine tree is considered to be the tree of life and its cones are considered symbols of resurrection and immortality. This symbolism was adopted from the ancient cults of Isis , Dionysus and Cybele . The Romans adorned pillar tombs with cones in the central European provinces . He is also said to be the symbol of the goddess Cisa . Today the symbol of the cone adorns the coat of arms of the city of Augsburg and is often called the stone walnut .

A golden pine cone adorns the roof of the Elisenbrunnen in Aachen .


Web links

Commons : Pine  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Pine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b Gordon Cheers (Ed.): Botanica, trees & bushes . Tandem, 2006, ISBN 978-3-8331-4467-7 , pp. 643 .
  2. Entry at
  3. a b c d e Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 483 .
  4. a b Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 484 .
  5. a b c Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 486 .
  6. ^ Tropicos. [1]
  7. Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 485 .
  8. a b c Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 482 .
  9. a b Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 487 .
  10. a b c Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 487-488 .
  11. Schütt, Weisgerber, Schuck, Lang, Stimm, Roloff: Lexicon of conifers . Nikol, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 3-933203-80-5 , p. 488-489 .
  12. Eckard Bieger SJ: Pine, pine cones. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on July 28, 2011 ; Retrieved August 26, 2011 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. ^ Stephanie Heyl: City of Augsburg., accessed on August 31, 2011 .