Stone Pine

Pinus pinea

Umbrella Pine, Italian Stone Pine, Parasol Pine, Pignolia-Nut Pine

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Widely known for its edible seeds, the stone pine is an attractive large pine tree with a long trunk with multiple stems at the top that forks into an umbrella-shaped crown. They grow well in groups, as a screen or as a single specimen. Mature trees have a thick, pink and orange-streaked bark that is fire-resistant. Unfortunately invasive in South Africa, especially in the fynbos biome of the Western Cape.
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Planning

Difficulty

Easy

Fruiting time

Spring, Winter

Harvesting

Cones take 3 years to mature before they can be harvested in late winter or spring for the pine nuts.

Propagation

Seed

The most preferred way of propagation.

Special features

Drought resistant

The pine fragrance given off by the tree is due to oil released from the leaves. It is thought that the oil may help reduce the amount of water lost from the leaves.

Hedge plant

Excellent windbreaker when planted in rows.

Special features

Origin

Native to the northern Mediterranean coastal region. Southern Europe to Turkey and Lebanon.

Natural climate

Temperate, Mediterranean

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Dry

Soil type

Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil PH preference

Neutral

Frost hardiness

Hardy

Uses

Medicinal

The resin of the stone pine contains turpentine which is used as an antiseptic, a remedy for kidney and bladder problems, and to treat skin conditions.

Edible

The cones produce edible pine nuts that have been harvested since prehistoric times. They can be eaten raw or roasted and are used in a number of culinary dishes.

Timber

A light soft wood popular to use as timber.

Personality

Family

Pinaceae

Scent

Mild

Problems

Stone pines can suffer from damage caused by the fungus Diplodia pinea, which causes new shoots to become brown and stunted, and the fungus Mycosphaerella pini (red band needle blight), which causes red bands and spots on needles, and premature defoliation.

Companion plants

Mostly planted on their own.
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Knowledge and advice

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