This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Regularly branched evergreen trees, often of large dimensions. Leaves needle-shaped, commonly fascicled, 2 to 5 together in a membranous sheath. Male cones or catkins in spikes, furnished with membranous scales. Female cones solitary or clustered with eventually woody scales, usually not reaching maturity in one season. Seeds inverted, 2 at the base of each scale, almost always winged at the base. In most Pines the cone becomes very dense and woody, the tops of the bracts being much thickened, expanded and shield-like. Upwards of 100 species are known, all in the northern hemisphere, and chiefly in temperate regions. The name is from the Greek fat, referring to the resin, and of which the English pine is merely an altered form.
1. P. sylvestris. Scotch Pine or Fir. - A tree from 50 to 100 feet high. This is the only species native of the British Islands, and it is now rarely seen in a wild state. The foliage is dense, of a glaucous hue, and from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long. Sheath small, persistent, nearly black. Cones solitary or 2 or 3 together, about 2 inches long, tapering towards the apex; tops of the scales elevated and ridged, with a square or triquetrous outline and a small shield with a deciduous point. Seeds winged. There are many slight varieties of this species, few of which are worthy of distinctive names or detailed notice, especially as this species is quite superseded for ornamental purposes by others of handsomer growth and aspect. The variety nana is a dwarf bush, variegata has some of the leaves tinged with yellow, and monophylla has the two leaves more or less combined.
2. P. Austrlaca, syn. P. nigricans and nigra. Austrian Pine. - - A handsome tree from 60 to 120 feet high with dense erect' rich glossy dark green foliage from 2 1/2 to 4 inches or more long. Sheath short, persistent. Cone reddish-brown, from 2 to 3 inches long, with less elevated smooth and shining scales. Seeds winged. This is perhaps the best of this section for general planting, being equally ornamental with any of the others and sufficiently hardy to develop its beauty in the bleakest and most exposed situations. In fact, it is unrivalled and invaluable for affording shelter to less robust subjects. Although introduced into Britain so lately as 1835, it now probably numbers as many individuals as all the other species, excluding the Scotch Pine, put together. It is a native of the mountains of Styria and neighbouring districts.
Fig. 215. Pinus Laricio.
3. P. Laricio (fig. 215). Corsican Pine. - A variable species, similar to the last in general appearance, but the leaves, instead of being erect or appressed, are spreading and curved or wavy. Cone pale brown; scales with a very short point. Seeds winged. This species appears to be very hardy; and it is also very ornamental, though scarcely so effective as the Austrian Pine. The principal varieties are : - pygmaea, a dwarf trailing bush with short rigid foliage; contorta, with curved and twisted branches; and Caramanica or Romana, a dense bushy form, intermediate in aspect between the Austrian Pine and the present. This species is very abundant in Corsica and other parts of Southern Europe, attaining a height of 100 to 150 feet.
4. P. Banksiana, syn. P. rupestris, divaricata, etc. Scrub Pine. - A dwarf bushy species with rigid divergent leaves about an inch long, or in warmer climates a small tree with longer pale green leaves. Cones about 2 inches long, usually curved, with pointless scales. Seeds winged. A native of the extreme North of America.
5. P. Pinaster, syn. P. maritima, etc. Cluster Pine. - A very distinct species of irregular growth and variable habit. Leaves dark green, from 6 inches to nearly a foot in length. Cones about 4 inches long, in dense clusters; scales pyramidal, angular, with a short straight prickle. Seeds winged. The variety Hamiltonii has paler green leaves, and variegata has the foliage more or less variegated with yellow and green. A native of the South-west of Europe, varying considerably in appearance according to situation and the nature of the soil.
6. P. muricata. - A small tree with handsome crowded bright green pliant leaves 3 to 5 inches long, and short pale sheaths. Cones clustered, about 3 inches long, very dense and woody, often oblique; lower scales prominent, furnished with a sharp woody point. Native of California.
7. P. Mugho. - A small tree or shrub with crowded dark green twisted leaves about 2 inches long. Cones usually in pairs, shorter than the foliage; scales with a strong usually curved spine. P. M. nana, the Knee Pine, is a mountain form rising only 2 or 3 feet from the ground; and rostrata or montana has unusually long curved prickles on the cones. Mountainous regions of Central Europe.
8. P. Pinea (fig. 216). Stone Pine, Parasol Pine. - This species is remarkable for its rounded head and intense green foliage from 6 to 8 inches long. Cones about 6 inches long; scales prominent, convex and wooly, terminating in a recurved obtxse prickle. Seeds with a very small wing. A native of the Mediterranean region.
There are several other species of this section in cultivation, but we must be content with enumerating a few of the better known ones. P. densi-flora, Japan; P. Brutia, Italy; P. Pallasiana, syn. P. Taurica, Crimea; P. mitis,- P. inops, and P. resinosa, North America.
Fig. 216. Pinus Pinea.
9. P. insignis, syn. P. Californica. Oregon Pitch Pine. - This is without doubt one of the handsomest of the genus, though unfortunately rather tender in some localities. It is a large tree of close habit, with crowded slightly appressed dark green slender soft flexible leaves about 4 or 5 inches long, 3 (or more rarely 4) together in a short persistent sheath. Native of California.
10. P. Benthamiana. - A gigantic tree, sometimes exceeding 200 feet in its native country. Branches thick, horizontal, in distant whorls. Leaves from 8 to 12 inches long, flexible, sometimes twisted, not glaucous. Cones clustered, 3 or 4 inches long, with sharp recurved prickles. North-western America. P. ponderosa is said to be identical with this. What we have seen under this name is very near the last, but the branches are slenderer and the leaves shorter, of a darker green.
11. P. macrocarpa, syn. P. Coulteri. - A large tree with beautiful glaucous foliage and immensely large cones. Leaves 9 to 12 inches long, rigid, sheaths long. This is a very distinct and desirable species. A native of California.
12. P. Fremontiana, syn. P. monophylla. - A small slow-growing tree with glaucous-green rigid curved leaves from 2 to 3 inches long. Cones from 2 to 3 inches long, without prickles. California.
13. P. radiata. - A large tree with slender branches and smooth greyish-green bark. Leaves dark green, 3 to 4 inches long, slender and twisted. Cone about 6 inches long, with thick woody scales. Also a native of California.
P. australis, P. Sabiniana, P. Jeffreyi, P. rigida, and P. Taeda are North American species of this section, the first two rather tender. P. Bungeana is a very distinct species of recent introduction, from China.
14. P. excelsa. Bhotan Pine. - This is perhaps the most familiar of this group. It is a handsome slender tree from 60 to 150 feet high, with smooth pale bark and drooping branches. Leaves glaucous-green, very slender and flexible, from 4 to 6 inches long. Cone cylindrical, pendulous, 6 to 8 inches long, with broad flat smooth scales. This is the most desirable species of this section as an ornamental tree, being a rapid grower and freely producing its large conspicuous cones. A native of the mountains of Northern India.
15. P. Strobus. Weymouth Pine, White Pine of the Americans. - This is very near the last, differing mainly in the shorter less abundant foliage and shorter cones with thinner scales. Although a very beautiful tree, this must cede the palm to the preceding, as it is of rather loose habit. A native of North-eastern America, where it attains a height of 100 to 150 feet. The varieties nana and alba are interesting; the latter has dense short silvery foliage.
16. P. Cembra. Siberian Stone Pine. - This species is remarkable for its slow growth, close erect symmetrical habit, and crowded appressed dark green and glaucous foliage. Leaves slender, flexible, from 2 to 3 inches long. Sheath small, deciduous, as it is also in the two last. Cone erect, about 3 or 4 inches long. The variety pygmaea is an extremely diminutive Pine, attaining a height only of 5 or 6 feet, it is said, in a hundred years. There is also a variegated and several other varieties, the best of which is Helvetica, with twisted leaves, some of which are glossy green, whilst others are glaucous and opaque. A very hardy species, occurring in the mountains of Central Europe and in Siberia.
17. P. flexilis. - A small slow-growing tree near the last in many particulars, but having more flexible branches and a bushy habit. Leaves crowded, rigid, about 2 inches long. Cones from 4 to 5 inches long, with wedge-shaped scales. A native of California.
18. P. lophosperma. - This is very distinct in habit and foliage from all of the preceding species of this section. It is a hand-some tree of large dimensions with rather loose branches and glossy yellowish green leaves from 7 to 10 inches long. Sheath large, persistent. Cones nearly globular, about 5 inches long, smooth and shining. This is a native of Lower California, and rather tender.
P. monticola and P. Lambertiana are Californian species near P. Strbbus; and P. parviflora and P. Koraiensis are recently introduced Japanese species of this affinity.
In addition to the foregoing species of Pinus, we might have included some of the numerous Mexican species; but as they are all more or less tender, and the scope of our work limited, we have preferred to pass them by with this slight allusion.