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The Austrian Pine

UK Garden Centre - Information about the Austrian Pine tree

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Family Pinaceae
Pinus nigra

The range of the Austrian Pine and its varieties together includes Central and Southern Europe, and part of Western Asia. There is a variety known as the Corsican Pine, and its botanical name correctly set out is Pinus nigra var. calabrica.
It is a comparatively recent addition to our sylva in both forms, for the Corsican Pine was introduced in 1759, in the belief that it was a maritime form of the Scots Pine, but the type was first sent out by Messrs. Lawson & Son, the Edinburgh nurserymen in 1835.
The Corsican Pine is a slender tree if somewhat pyramidal form, growing to a height of eighty to one hundred and twenty feet. The Austrian Pine, though a large tree, is of smaller proportions – from sixty to eighty feet high – but with stouter and longer branches, and denser foliage.
The leaves, which vary from three to five inches in length, are sheathed in pairs, convex on the outer side, rigid, glossy, dark green, and with toothed margins. The cones are solitary or in clusters, ovoid-conic in shape, shining brown, two or three inches long, by an inch in diameter, straight or curved. They ripen in the spring or summer of the third year and fall off soon after the escape of the seeds.
Pinus nigra is a very variable species, including several geographical forms which differ in habit and density of foliage. The species may generally be distinguished amongst two-leaved pines by its yellowish-brown shoots, stout leaves, ovoid, abruptly pointed buds, and tawny-yellow cones.
Pinus nigra and its varieties will thrive in pure sand and on that account make excellent seaside trees. The Austrian Pine when exposed to strong sea winds develops a dense branch system, which affords a good windbreak, and it is therefore useful as a shelter belt. It also grows vigorously in inland localities on a variety of soils. Austrian and Corsican Pines are a feature of the sand dunes at Holkham, Norfolk, where they were planted between 1855 and 1890. They furnish a good object lesson of the value of the species in fixing the sand dunes and the provision of shelter. Its timber, though coarse in grain, is very durable, and useful for outside work.
At Kew Gardens, near the main gate, one can judge the value of the Corsican Pine for planting on poor, dry, sandy soil, for there are several fine trees, including an old one over ninety feet high. This tree was brought to England by Salisbury in 1814 when a seedling only six inches high.


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