A genus with over 120 varieties, Pinus are elegant evergreen, coniferous shrubs or trees, mostly native to the Northern Hemisphere. They are also sometimes found growing in extreme temperatures and altitudes, from rainforests to semi-desert areas. They are fast-growing and often seen in coastal areas, to which they are well suited. Some species have attractive bark, often fissured. Needle-like leaves that often remain for several years are produced in bundles and can be any shade of green, yellow-green or grey-green. Resinous winter buds can be ovoid or cylindrical and seeds are usually winged. Female cones ripen over several years and male ones come in the form of catkin-like clusters at the shoot base. Pines are used as specimen trees, wind breaks and small, slow-growing varieties are sometimes incorporated into rock gardens.
In late winter