Maritime pine

(Pinus pinaster)



Pinus pinaster, the maritime pine or cluster pine, is a pine native to the Mediterranean region. It is a hard, fast growing pine containing small seeds with large wings. Its range is in the western Mediterranean Basin, extending from Portugal and Northern Spain (especially in Galicia) to southern and Western France, east to western Italy, Croatia and south to northern Tunisia, Algeria and northern Morocco. It favours a Mediterranean climate, which is one that has cool, rainy winters and hot, dry summers. It generally occurs at low to moderate altitudes, mostly from sea level to 600 m, but up to 2,000 m in the south of its range in Morocco. The high degree of fragmentation in the current natural distribution is caused by two factors: the discontinuity and altitude of the mountain ranges causing isolation of even close populations, and human activity. Pinus pinaster is a medium-size tree, reaching 20–35 m tall and with a trunk diameter of up to 1.2 m, exceptionally 1.8 m. The bark is orange-red, thick, and deeply fissured at the base of the trunk, somewhat thinner in the upper crown. The leaves ('needles') are in pairs, very stout (2 mm broad), up to 25 cm long, and bluish-green to distinctly yellowish-green. The maritime pine features the longest and most robust needles of all European pine species. Pinus pinaster is widely planted for timber in its native area, being one of the most important trees in forestry in France, Spain and Portugal. Landes forest in southwest France is the largest man-made maritime pine forest in Europe. It has also been cultivated in Australia as plantation tree, to provide softwood timber. Pinus pinaster resin is a useful source of turpentine and rosin. In addition to industrial uses, maritime pine is also a popular ornamental tree, often planted in parks and gardens in areas with warm temperate climates. It has become naturalised in parts of southern England, Uruguay, Argentina, South Africa and Australia.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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