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The Stone Pine

UK Garden Centre - Information about the Stone Pine

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Family Pinaceae
Pinus Pinea

It must be confessed that the Stone Pine, with its squat, heavy, umbrella-like head, is less beautiful than picturesque, a point that strongly commends it to the landscape painter.
The date of its introduction to Britain is not known, but it has been in cultivation here certainly for nearly four hundred years. In its native countries it attains a height of sixty to eighty feet, but in this country the finest examples are about sixty feet.
Its trunk, covered with rugged, and deeply fissured thick, red-grey bark, forks at no great distance from the roots, and sends off massive spreading branches of great length.
For several years the young tree produces short single leaves, but later leaves are five or six inches long, slender, and of a bright green tint, in pairs, united at their base by a pale sheath. These leaves endure for two or three years.
The pollen-bearing flowers are crowded into a spike. The female flowers are about three-quarters of an inch long, composed of pale greenish scales.
After fertilization, these grow to a length of four to six inches, of a rugged oval form, red-brown in colour, ripening in the third year. The scales of these cones are somewhat wedge-shaped, with a stout rhomboid boss, which has a depression round the central protuberance.
The seeds, which are eaten for dessert and preserved as sweetmeats in the countries where the Stone Pine is native, are enclosed in a bony shell, and it is from this circumstance that the tree gets its name.


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