This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
This is not a native of Britain, though it has been grown here for about three hundred years. Its home is in the countries bordering the Mediterranean, chiefly in low ground near the sea. It is a large tree growing to a height of sixty or seventy feet, but its timber is so soft that it has little value for the builder, though the carpenter finds many uses for it, and much of it is used in the preparation of resin, turpentine and tar. The tree may be readily identified by its long, dark leaves (in twos), forming large, brush-like clusters. These leaves vary from six to twelve inches in length. The cones are as large again as those of the Scotch-pine, and each scale bears in the centre of the raised portion a hard, sharp point of a grey colour. This is the tree which has proved of such great service in France in turning to use considerable areas of barren sea-sands. In the Departments of the Landes and Gironde troublesome rolling sands have been rendered fit for agriculture by making plantations of P. pinaster, which can thrive in such poor stuff, even so near the sea.