Pine trees are known as decorative ornamentals thriving in cold to subtropical climates. It is used in winter landscapes for Christmas trees.
Most have edible pine nuts and are significant in many cultures not only because it is very old but because since then, it has been a constant source of timber and lumber.
In this post, we will cover the types of pine trees, their uses, and basic descriptions.
What is a pine tree?
Pine trees are popular conifers cultivated as either ornamental or for wood/timber production.
They can either be grown as shrubs used in landscaping, farmed as Christmas trees or as full-blown trees that could reach a height of 150ft and more.
The tallest and oldest type of pine tree can be found in the Yosemite National Park standing at 273ft. It is the Great Basin pine. It belongs to the family Pinaceae and the genus Pinus.
What does a pine tree symbolize?
Pines hold a lot of cultural symbolisms being one of the oldest trees in the world. In Mexican and Native American lore, it often represents longevity and wisdom.
In Norse mythology, pines are associated with the goddess Freya and are a symbol of love and fertility.
It is also the symbol of peace and hope due to its sturdy and adaptive nature.
Pine tree needles
Pine needles are basically the identity of pines. Botanically, pine tree needles are the reasons why they can thrive in cold, dry, and subtropical climates as they provide waxy cuticles that will prevent dehydration.
Pine needles are, however, acidic. This is the reason why it is recommended that pine trees be cultivated far from existing vegetation.
Read also: Popular types of trees
Types of pine trees for landscaping
1. Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis)
It is also known as the Jerusalem pine and is used extensively in southern California home landscaping. It is a tree specimen known for being highly drought-tolerant with yellow-green needles. It is considered as invasive because it tends to thrive in burnt areas.
2. Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra)
This one is unique for its pyramid-shape appearance when it is young and turns into a round-topped tree as it grows mature.
It is also called the European black pine known for its dense, tufted needles. It is mainly used as screeners in large properties. However, it is also known to be susceptible to many problems and diseases.
3. Bhutan pine (Pinus wallichiana)
It is also called the Himalayan white pine is known as a stable source of turpentine and popular in the timber industry. It has a broad base, upright branches, and deep green foliage. It is a beautiful specimen tree for gardens with its pyramid-shape.
4. Bosnian Pine (Pinus heldreichii)
It is the official symbol of the Pollino National Park in Italy. It is native to the Balkan regions and Southern Italy.
It is notable for its dark green foliage that grows in short bundles and slender cones which emerge as purple-blue and turn dark brown as the tree ages. It is adaptive and is considered as the oldest tree in Europe.
5. Bristlecone Pine (Pinus aristata)
It is a dwarf pine species native to the southern regions of the Rocky Mountains. While it is slow and low-growing, it is known for its longevity. It is considered as one of the oldest living pine species in the world with 4,000 years of archived existence.
6. Bull pine (Pinus ponderosa)
It is also called the Arizona pine or yellow pine. It is adaptive and is known for its flaky brown-red bark, long needles growing in bundles of three and large, hard-shelled cones.
When young, it is pyramidal but as it matures, it will be rounded. The whole tree emits a musky, citrusy aroma.
7. California Foothill Pine (Pinus sabiniana)
It grows extensively in all of California known for its luscious nuts used in making pesto dishes. It has a distinct buttery and citrus taste that can be eaten raw. As a landscape tree, it is known for its rich brown, forked trunk, deep green, lacy foliage, and transparent crown.
8. Canary Island Pine (Pinus canariensis)
It is unique for its parasol-like appearance when it grows mature. It is very large, sturdy, and hardy being able to tolerate a wide range of soil conditions and growing environments (except very cold climates). It has tufted needles but not very dense. It is economically valuable because of its aromatic timber.
9. Chilgoza Pine (Pinus gerardiana)
While it is not used for timber, its profuse nut production makes it an export product of Afghanistan. It bears the chilgoza nuts known for its high nutrient value and pine oil. It is often confused with the blue pine and it resembles deodar cedars.
10. Chinese red pine (Pinus massoniana)
It is known for its forked trunk, dome-like appearance, and downward-facing, deep green needles. It has a unique gray-orange bark and could grow to 150ft.
It is used for timber and paper production. Its needles are also dried for tea. Bonsai red pines are beautiful in landscaping.
11. Chinese white pine (Pinus armandii)
It is a rare pine known for its large cones, weighing down its whorled branches, and prominent blue-green foliage. It has a cone-shaped crown that will turn round as it matures. It is used in landscaping not only for its beauty but also because it is disease-resistant.
12. Chir Pine (Pinus roxburghii)
Also known as the Imodi pine, this one is native to the Himalayan region. It is common in Asian forests (Afghanistan, China, Bhutan, and Nepal).
Although it is not as sturdy as other pines, it is still used in woodworks especially in construction and in making furniture. It could grow up to 180ft.
13. Coulter Pine (Pinus coulteri)
Native to Mexico and California known for its heavy cones with irregular crowns. As such, it is also fondly called as big cone pine, slash pine, or nut pine. It has no economic value aside from being used as firewood. It is cultivated as an ornamental tree for large properties and in parks.
14. Dwarf Mountain Pine (Pinus mugo)
This low-growing pine can reach only up to 6ft making it a perfect landscaping pine. It is adaptive and drought-tolerant. It has dark green needles, deep brown barks, and cones.
It is widely planted along the coastal lines to control erosion. Its most famous and award-winning cultivar is the Ophir.
15. Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
It is considered as one of the most important North American trees used for timber and as ornamental tree in landscapes. Although it is fast-growing, regular pruning will keep it low to be used as a hedge for gardens. It is known for its soft, gray bark and longevity. It is simply referred to as the white pine.
16. Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana)
It is a rare pine species found almost exclusively in the tree lines of the Sierra Mountains. It is not really grown as an ornamental and is not seen in many landscapes. It is visually appealing for hikers though. It is native to California and could grow to up to 50ft.
17. Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana)
Its common names include foothill pine, Sabine, and digger. It has a crooked, resinous trunk, deeply furrowed black-brown bark, and blue-green/gray foliage. While it is not visually attractive, it is a prolific producer of resin and firewood.
18. Great Basin bristlecone pine (Pinus longaeva)
This one is found in only six US states and is considered as one of the longest living pine. The oldest great basin bristlecone was dubbed as Methuselah and is at 4,800 years old.
It has a very twisted trunk and irregularly shaped branches. It is protected by conservation laws and is no longer used for landscape.
19. Italian Stone Pine (Pinus Pinea)
Native to Lebanon and Turkey, it is also called the umbrella pine because of its umbrella-shaped canopy. It is rarely seen in US landscapes.
In the Mediterranean, however, it is cultivated as a food crop as it produces pignoli nuts sold commercially across Europe. It could grow tall to up to 60ft.
20. Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana)
It is rarely used in landscaping because it looks shabby and generally scruffy. Nonetheless, you would find it as windbreakers in rural landscapes/properties because it is essentially a low care pine. It produces curved cones and has unique twisted needles.
21. Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii)
It is a famous specimen tree known for its cone-shaped overall appearance. As such, it is commonly used in landscapes as bonsai. It has dense, tufted needles of deep green hues. It is native to South Korea and Japan and could grow to up to 50ft tall.
22. Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora)
Also called the Tanyosho pine, it is a dwarf species considered as the most common pine tree native to Japan. It has tufted, dense, yellow-green needles and overall, it has an umbrella-shaped appearance. It can be grown as a tree or shrub and is commonly used as a foundation plant for bonsai.
23. Japanese White Pine (Pinus Parviflora)
This one is also a beautiful specimen tree for landscapes. It has an attractive spreading pattern and a flat top. It has very fine bluish-green needles and an interesting brown-purple bark making it famous for bonsai enthusiasts. It is also native to Japan and South Korea.
24. Jeffrey Pine (Pinus jeffreyi)
Because of its sparse growth, it is not famous for landscaping purposes. Nonetheless, it has very attractive qualities. For one, it is extremely drought-tolerant and has high-tolerance for poor soil conditions. Also, it has vanilla-scented bark and blooms gray shoots. It is considered invasive in California.
25. Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis)
It is a cold-hardy, adaptive, pyramid-shaped pine. It has an elegant flair with its dense blue-green leaves that branch out up to the base. It has copper cones that produce edible nuts. As it ages, it will become dome-like in appearance. It is used in landscaping, construction, and woodworks.
26. Lacebark Pine (Pinus bungeana)
Its peeling bark of gray and maroon which highly resembles the sycamore. Because of this, it is treated as an attractive landscape specimen. It is notable for being slow-growing with approximately one-foot growth annually. It is native to China.
27. Limber Pine (Pinus flexilis)
It is unique for its thick and durable trunk and generally irregular-shaped appearance. It has blue-green needles and dark gray bark. It is a popular ornamental pine and at the same time an important food source for forest critters. It is also farmed as a Christmas tree.
28. Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)
It prefers landscapes in boggy and overdamp soil conditions. It is native to swampy regions in the southeast USA unique for its very straight trunk. As it grows mature, it will continually lose lower branches to pave way for crown towers. It could grow to up to 80ft in temperate climates.
29. Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)
It is one of the most widely distributed pines and has gained many common names including beach pine and tamarack pine. It has a unique contorted trunk which makes it perfect to windy environments. It is used more in construction for lumber, veneers, and poles.
30. Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris)
It is native to Southern USA and could grow very tall to up to 100ft. It is unique for its straight trunk with very long, deep green needles. As a matter of fact, it got its name because its needles could reach up to 1.5ft long. It is economically valuable as a source of pulpwood and construction lumber.
31. Luchu Pine (Pinus luchuensis)
It is a rare pine native to Okinawa, Japan. It is also called old-style pine or Ryukyu pine. It is a very attractive ornamental used for coastal landscapes. It has beautiful, angled branches, brown-black bark, and a flat crown. It has dense, tufted needles and could grow very tall to up to 80ft.
32. Macedonian Pine (Pinus peuce)
It is a cold-climate, high humidity pine native to Macedonia and the southern Balkan region. It is pruned and grown as a shrub for landscaping purposes and erosion control. Although considered as softwood, it is durable and is used in carpentry and woodworks.
33. Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster)
Native to Morocco and southern Europe, this pine species is both cultivated for commercial purposes and landscaping. Commercially, it is valuable for resin and timber production. For landscaping purposes, it is loved for its upswept branches and cone-shaped appearance. It is also called as French turpentine pine.
34. Mexican pinyon pine (Pinus cembroides)
It is a tough, drought-resistant pine with blue-green needles. It is a cousin of the remote pinyon pine but it has a more conical appearance. It has edible pine nuts from its red-brown, hard-shelled cone. It could grow to 70ft.
35. Mexican Weeping Pine (Pinus patula)
It is named as such because of its drooping needles resembling weeping willow trees but with tufted needles. It is native to Mexico and is also known as the patula pine or the jelecote pine. It is commercially important specifically in lumber production. It is used as specimen pine for landscapes.
36. Mexican white pine (Pinus ayacahuite)
It is native and very culturally significant to Mexico. It is also called the cloud tree because it grows tall at 150ft. It is commercially significant because it is an easy wood to work with supplying carpentry wood and used in making furniture. It has an ash-gray trunk, a dome-like shape, and its bright green leaves grow in bundles of five.
37. Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata)
It is also called as the radiata pine native Mexico and California. It is known for its thick, twisted trunk and sturdy branches. It is naturalized as good windbreakers in California and New Zealand. It is also a famous choice for construction lumber.
38. Montezuma pine (Pinus montezumae)
It is native to Mexico and Central America and is known as the Ocote tree. In traditional medicine, the bark is used as a diuretic and antiseptic. It bears edible nuts and its foliage will stay green year-long.
39. Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
This one is a creeping shrub, dwarf pine known for its sturdy branches. It is famous as a specimen tree in landscapes as it is beneficial for erosion control when planted in masses. Its famous species include Hesse, Gnome, and Compacta.
40. Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
It is culturally significant to Native Americans as it was used to build canoes. Through the years, it was also used in resin production and in railroad construction. While it is shabby-looking, it is used as a specimen tree in Canada and the east US. It is also valuable for timber production.
41. Pond Pine (Pinus serotina)
It is also called pond pine or marsh pine native to the eastern USA. It is a very interesting pine species because its seed cones will only open after they are burnt with fire. Aside from being landscape specimens, they are also commercially valuable for pulp production.
42. Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
It is native to Canada and the US and is also known as bull pine or Black Jack. It could grow very large with thick trunks. As such, it is very important in commercial-grade lumber. As an ornamental, it is usually naturalized in large spaces and is loved for its compelling deep-fissured bark.
43. Red Pine, Norway Pine (Pinus resinosa)
It is the state tree of Minnesota that got its extended name because it looks a lot like the Norwegian scotch pine. It is a self-pruning pine with a notable red-brown, scaly bark. It is important in the lumber industry of its home state and has a distinct resin smell.
44. Sand Pine (Pinus clausa)
It gets its name from its preferred sandy soil. It is native to Alabama, Florida, and other southern US states. It also has cone seeds that will only open after being scorched with fire. While they are not commonly used for landscaping, young sand pines are pruned and cultivated as Christmas trees.
45. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
It is a fast-growing pine native to Europe and Asia. Like the sand pine, it is also cultivated as a Christmas tree. Younger species of the scots pine are developed as specimen trees for landscaping. It is distinct for its cone-shape appearance and red-brown bark.
46. Shore Pine (Pinus contorta)
It gets its name from thriving in mountainous, dry, and coastal regions. It is also fondly called as the twisted pine because of its contorted branches and trunk. It has glossy deep green needles with streaks of paler green and copper-colored cones. It is native to North America and could grow to up to 160ft.
47. Siberian pine (Pinus sibirica)
It is one of the most prized pines because it is where pine oil is extracted. It has an attractive rich brown trunk, dark-green, bristle-like needles, and crowns with scaly cones. It has significant historical value to the Ural region as myth and folklore are associated with it.
48. Single-Leaf Pinyon Pine (Pinus monophylla)
It is a fast-growing, medium-sized pine distinct for its single needles, hence, the name and flaking, dark brown bark. While young single-leaf pinyon pines are cultivated for Christmas trees, it is rarely used for landscaping because it is hard to propagate.
49. Slash Pine (Pinus elliottii)
It is also called as Cuban pine or swamp pine. It grows extensively in the southeast USA and is important in the region for reforestation projects and as a stable source of timber. It is fast growing with glossy, deep green, broom-like needles and an ovate-pyramid appearance.
50. Stone pine (Pinus pinea)
It is also called the Mediterranean pine or parasol pine because of its notable flat top, umbrella-shaped appearance. It is a popular ornamental pine used for landscapes and like the pinyon, it has edible nuts. Its dark green foliage grows in a bundle of two. It could grow tall in the wild for up to 80ft and could live long for 150 years.
51. Sugar Pine (Pinus lambertiana)
It is considered as the tallest-growing specimen pine growing at 270ft. It is also recognized as the producer of the largest pine cones with almost 2ft in length. As it grows, its branches space out widely and shed off profusely leaving the base bare.
It produces edible nuts likened to pine nuts. The tallest sugar pine can be found in the Yosemite National Park.
52. Swiss pine (Pinus cembra)
It is also called as the arolla pine known for its dense and dark green foliage that will stay in color year-round. There are shorter cultivars that are cultivated as landscape trees. Swiss pines however are famous in the Alps for woodworks, particularly in manufacturing bed frames. They are also stable sources of timber.
53. Tenasserim Pine (Pinus latteri)
It is a large pine native to Southeast Asia. It is distinct for its dark orange bark and its height that could reach up to 150ft. Like the Aleppo pine, it also becomes round-shaped as it ages. It is a common specimen tree for landscapes in regions where the climate is warm.
54. Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana)
It is a very rare pine species exclusively found in southern California. It also goes by the name Soledad pine or Del Mar pine since it thrives in coastal lines. It is unique for its broad, twisted branches and open-crowned habit. Because of its rarity, it is protected by conservation laws.
55. Turkish Pine (Pinus brutia)
This one is a famous warm ornamental pine. It is native to West Eurasia, particularly in Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Italy, and Greece. It is loved for being extremely heat and drought-tolerant. It also features an attractive brown-red bark with deep fissures.
56. Two-Needle Pinyon Pine (Pinus edulis, Colorado pinyon)
It is the two-needle species of the pinyon pine growing at small to medium size. It is used as a specimen pine for landscape and cultivated as a Christmas tree. It is notable for its scaly, furrowed, dark brown gray-brown bark and edible pine nuts.
57. Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
It is a popular winter pine native to the eastern USA and is also known as the Jersey pine. It has attractive, angled cones and young shoots that bloom in either pink or golden yellow depending on the cultivar. It is used as a pine specimen in landscapes and farmed as Christmas trees.
58. Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)
A cousin to the eastern white pine, it is also a large growing pine reaching up to 150ft. It is not a famous specimen pine for landscaping because it is too large-growing. It is native to the western USA and Canada. It is also called the silver pine and Idaho white pine.
59. Whitebark Pine (Pinus albicaulis)
The limber pine is its relative and it is known for its scrubby, slender umbrella-like appearance. It thrives in high-elevation locations specifically in Canada and Western USA. It has a fissured, ashy, whitebark, hence, the name. It is not usually used in landscaping as it grows very tall. It is protected by conservation laws.
Types of indoor pine trees
60. Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla)
It is also called the house pine because it is grown indoors in temperate regions. It is a slow-growing, specimen tree known for its fountain-like, rich green foliage that will remain in color year-long. It has specific growing requirements, however.
Pine vs fir
While both are conifers, belong to Pinus while fir belongs to the Abies genus. Firs could only be cultivated as trees growing in cold regions while pine can tolerate subtropical environments and could be trimmed as shrubs.
Firs have shorter needles compared to pines. Although both upright, firs are consistently large and tall while pines can be jagged and irregular looking.
In terms of cones, fir cones are at the apex of the tree-shaped like an egg while pine cones are more elongated and can be found loosely in branches.
Pine vs spruce
Both thrive in subtropical climates and are cultivated as ornamentals and for timber. Spruce have more symmetrical crowns while pines have irregular ones.
Pines have softer, flatter needles compared to the woody, sharper foliage of spruce. Pines have thick, woody, and scaly cones while spruce have thin, papery ones.
Spruces have furrowed barks even at youth while pine has softer barks. As for timber production, pines are more available and cheaper compared to spruce.
Pine trees, aside from being ancient conifers have an interesting overall profile. It is not just grown as ornamentals for landscaping but also for commercial value specifically in woodworks, timber, and lumber production and also for its edible nuts.
With all things considered, the types of pine trees reveal to us why this tree remains to be cultivated around the world.