Monterey Pine

(Pinus radiata)



Pinus radiata (syn. Pinus insignis), the Monterey pine, insignis pine or radiata pine, is a species of pine native to the Central Coast of California and Mexico (Guadalupe Island and Cedros island). It is an evergreen conifer in the family Pinaceae.P. radiata is a versatile, fast-growing, medium-density softwood, suitable for a wide range of uses. Its silviculture reflects a century of research, observation and practice. It is often considered a model for growers of other plantation species. It is the most widely planted pine in the world, valued for rapid growth and desirable lumber and pulp qualities. Although P. radiata is extensively cultivated as a plantation timber in many temperate parts of the world, it faces serious threats in its natural range, due to the introduction of pine pitch canker (Fusarium circinatum). It is native to three very limited areas located in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo Counties. It is also found as the variety Pinus radiata var. binata or Guadalupe pine on Guadalupe Island, and a possibly separable P. radiata var./subsp. cedrosensis on Cedros Island, both in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of the northern Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. In Australia, New Zealand, and Spain it is the leading introduced tree and in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Kenya, and South Africa it is a major plantation species. It is also an introduced tree on the world's most remote inhabited island, Tristan da Cunha. P. radiata is a coniferous evergreen tree growing to 15–30 m (50–100 ft) tall in the wild, but up to 60 m (200 ft) in cultivation in optimum conditions, with upward pointing branches and a rounded top. The leaves ("needles") are bright green, in clusters of three (two in var. binata), slender, 8–15 cm (3–6 in) long and with a blunt tip. The ovulate cones are 7–17 cm (3–6+1⁄2 in) long, brown, ovoid (egg-shaped), and usually set asymmetrically on a branch, attached at an oblique angle. The bark is fissured and dark grey to brown. When not cut short by disease or harvesting, it has a lifespan of 80 to 90 years. The specific epiphet radiata refers to the cracks which radiate from the umbo of the cone scales. It is closely related to bishop pine and knobcone pine, hybridizing readily with both species; it is distinguished from the former by needles in threes (not pairs), and from both by the cones not having a sharp spine on the scales.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Coniferophyta
Class: Pinopsida
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