Other Common Names:
The other common name for the pine tree is Scot pine.
Pinus sylvestris is a shade intolerant species and is very useful in gardens as well as in forestry.Scots pine was once a wide spread element of the natural forests of Denmark. Commonly sold as a Christmas tree, mainly in N America but also now in Britain, though not the traditional species for this use; when so used, var.
hamata is the best as it has better blue colour in winter. The name derives from Latin pinus via French pin, in the past this species was more often known as "Scots Fir" or "Scotch Fir" but "fir" is restricted to Abies and Pseudotsuga in modern English. Other names sometimes used include Riga Pine and Norway Pine, and Mongolian Pine for var. mongolica. "Scotch Pine" is another variant of the common name, used mostly in North America.
A beautiful, large tree with rich blue-green foliage and a crown of spreading branches that becomes rounded and irregular; growing to an average height of 21 m and a diameter of 0.6 m; even much larger with age. In common with other pines, the tree bears stiff waxy needles instead of flattened leaves. These grow in pairs from the twigs and are between five and seven centimetres long.
The tree also bears its seeds in cones, small egg-shaped woody structures which appear green and resinous in their first year, later drying to produce the familiar mini-pineapple shaped pinecones from which the seeds are dispersed. The orange, flaky, bark in the upper part of the tree stem is a useful character for identification. The seed cones are red at pollination, then pale brown, globose and 4-8 mm diameter in their first year, expanding to full size in their second year, pointed ovoid-conic, green, then grey-green to yellow-brown at maturity, 3-7.5 cm in length. The cone scales have a flat to pyramidal apophysis, with a small prickle on the umbo.
The native pine of the Scottish Highlands, this is the most widely distributed pine in the world; found across Europe, Scandinavia and northern Asia; also Canada and northern United States; in various soil conditions from loams to sand. It has also been introduced to other countries.
The tree prefers light sandy soils and lower altitudes. It has been planted as a windbreak in some regions, notably the East Anglian Breckland. It does not like areas with high rainfall or sea winds.
It is best to sow the seed in individual pots in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in late winter. A short stratification of 6 weeks at 4°c can improve the germination of stored seed. Plant seedlings out into their permanent positions as soon as possible and protect them for their first winter or two. Plants have a very sparse root system and the sooner they are planted into their permanent positions the better they will grow. Trees should be planted into their permanent positions when they are quite small, between 30 and 90cm. It is planted out when they are about 5 - 10cm tall. So long as they are given very good weed-excluding mulch they establish very well. Larger trees will check badly and hardly put on any growth for several years. This also badly affects root development and wind resistance. This method only works when taken from very young trees less than 10 years old. Use single leaf fascicles with the base of the short shoot. Disbudding the shoots some weeks before taking the cuttings can help. Cuttings are normally slow to grow away.
Flowering occurs in late May to early June with lemon-yellow pollen cones and deep-red seed cones at the tips of new shoots
Pests and Diseases
Pine trees are also vulnerable to large scale infestations from various fungal pathogens. It is affected by pests like arachnids such as the spruce spider mites (Oligonychus ununguis), and rust mites (Nalepella).The Pine Grosbeak, as a pest, generally affects Scots Pine but also affects Eastern White and Red Pine as well as spruce trees. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, as a Christmas tree pest, is hosted by Scots and Austrian pine trees. The sapsuckers peck holes in sapling bark causing sap to bleed out; this can kill the trees and allow insects and pathogens to enter.
Needles, Branches & Cones are the most commonly
used parts of the pine tree for its commercial and medicinal purposes.
• Pine has a long history of used as a pain reliever in arthritis, aches, pains and sore muscles.
• The turpentine obtained from the resin is antirheumatic, antiseptic, balsamic, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient and vermifuge.
• It is also used as an anti-infectious, antimicrobial agent in colds, flu, urinary and viral infections.
• Pine is employed in improving appetite and also helps in weight reduction.
• A valuable remedy in bladder, kidney, and rheumatic affections and diseases of the mucous membrane and respiratory complaints.
• The inner bark dried and ground into a powder and used in making bread
• A decoction of the seeds can be applied externally to help suppress excessive vaginal discharge.
• Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalants.
• They can be added to the bath water for treating fatigue, nervous exhaustion, sleeplessness, and skin irritations.
• The timber, though classified as 'softwood', is strong and used for a huge range of products, from house and boat-building to furniture, toys and railway sleepers.
• The fibrous material is stripped out of the leaves and is used to fill pillows, cushions and as a packing material.
• The sweet fragrance of pine has even found its way into our homes in the form of scented cleaning products.
• The essential oil is used in aromatherapy.
• A fibre from the inner bark is used to make ropes.
• The turpentine obtained from this tree has a wide range of uses including as a solvent for waxes etc, for making varnish, medicinal etc.
• Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and is used for waterproofing, as a wood preservative etc.
• An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery.