Italian stone pine

(Pinus pinea)

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Description

The stone pine, botanical name Pinus pinea, also known as the Italian stone pine, umbrella pine and parasol pine, is a tree from the pine family (Pinaceae). The tree is native to the Mediterranean region, occurring in Southern Europe, The Palestinian Territories, Israel, Lebanon and Syria. It is also naturalized in North Africa, the Canary Islands, South Africa and New South Wales. The species was introduced into North Africa millennia ago, such a long time that it is essentially indistinguishable from being native. Stone pines have been used and cultivated for their edible pine nuts since prehistoric times. They are widespread in horticultural cultivation as ornamental trees, planted in gardens and parks around the world. In coastal California, for example, where known popularly as the Italian stone pine in tree guidebooks since 1956, this evergreen is widely grown from Hollywood to Palisades Park (Santa Monica), to Sylmar in the northern San Fernando Valley, and in Marina del Rey, after World War II. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Pinus pinea is a diagnostic species of the vegetation class Pinetea halepensis. The prehistoric range of Pinus pinea included North Africa in the Sahara Desert and Maghreb regions during a more humid climate period, in present-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Its contemporary natural range is in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome ecoregions and countries, including the following: The Iberian conifer forests ecoregion of the Iberian Peninsula in Spain and Portugal; the Italian sclerophyllous and semideciduous forests ecoregion in France and Italy; the Tyrrhenian-Adriatic sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion of southern Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia; the Illyrian deciduous forests of the eastern coast of the Ionian and Adriatic Seas in Croatia and Albania; and the Aegean and Western Turkey sclerophyllous and mixed forests ecoregion of the southern Balkan Peninsula in Greece. In many parts of northern Italy, large parks with pine trees were laid out by the sea. Examples are the Pineta of Jesolo and Barcola, the Urban Beach of Trieste. The stone pine is a coniferous evergreen tree that can exceed 25 metres (80 feet) in height, but 12–20 m (40–65 ft) is more typical. In youth, it is a bushy globe, in mid-age an umbrella canopy on a thick trunk, and, in maturity, a broad and flat crown over 8 m (26 ft) in width.

Taxonomic tree:

Domain:
Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
Order:Pinales
Family:Pinaceae
Genus:Pinus
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