This section is from the book "Sub-Alpine Plants Or Flowers Of The Swiss Woods And Meadows", by H. Stuart Thompson. Also available from Amazon: Sub-Alpine Plants: Or, Flowers of the Swiss Woods and Meadows.
Trees or shrubs with resinous juice, and usually rigid, subulate leaves, often in fascicles and entire in the European genera. Flowers monoecious or dioecious. Male flowers in catkins, of 1 or more anthers, female flowers solitary or in cones of I or more, sessile, naked, ovules, placed on a bract or open carpellary leaf. Fruit a cone or berry.
An extensive family spread over the whole globe.
Trees with linear or subulate, fascicled leaves. Male catkins in spikes of many 2-celled anthers. Cone ripening the second year. Ovules 2, inverted and adnate to the carpellary leaf.
Leaves narrowly linear, flat or channelled on the upper side, convex below, mucronate, scarcely acicular, in pairs within a sheath, persistent. Male catkins long, congregated in whorled spikes at the base of this year's shoots. Female catkins oval or longer, solitary, or 2-6 together, in the first year at the apex of this year's shoot, in the second year lateral from the growth of a new shoot, erect during and after flowering, spreading obliquely or horizontally when ripe, sessile. Scales nearly as long as the carpellary leaves at the time of flowering, and more or less concealing them. Cones ovate or ovate-conical before opening. Scales of cone variously spathulate, compressed, 3-sided; shield within an irregularly 4-cornered or nearly 3-cornered beak.
A tree, with shorter trunk and prostrate or ascending branches in the form known as P. Mughus, often covering large tracts in rocky Alpine slopes; 4400-7500 feet. May, June.
The short form is more especially found on limestone; the taller tree grows in the Alps and sub-Alps, and in Swiss peat-mosses descends to 2000 feet above sea-level.
Carpathians; Eastern, Central, and Western Alps; Jura, Vosges, Pyrenees, Caucasus; Central and Eastern Europe.
Pinus uncinata Ramd. is a variety of the above with the bosses of the scales on the lower side of the cone larger than those which are turned towards the trunk, recurved in the form of a hook. It becomes a tall tree in the Valais and in Vaud, but is little more than a shrub in the Jura.
Cones very shortly stalked, recurved when young, symmetrical, conical. Scales rhomboid, with flat boss and a transverse keel and deciduous point. Leaves in pairs, stiffly subulate, about 2 inches long, glaucous inside. The heart-wood is reddish. Seeds winged, small.
This well-known Pine reaches about 7300 feet in the Swiss (Valais) Alps, where it is rare, and possibly rather higher in some of the Western Alps of France and Italy. May.
Alps, Vosges, Cevennes, Pyrenees, Corbieres, Norway, Northern and Central Europe, mountains of Southern Europe, Caucasus, Russian Asia,1 Scotch Highlands. Usually planted elsewhere.
Stem erect. Leaves in bundles of 5, stiff, trigonous, about 2 1/2 inches long. Cones of this year erect, in groups of 3 or 4 at end of branches, stalked; when ripe, large, sessile, ovate, obtuse. Scales flat, erect, downy, rather spreading at the apex. Shield very small, almost obsolete. Seed not winged, edible. A tree of moderate size. Leaves bluish green when young. Cones solitary or in twos or threes, attaining the size of the fist, dark violet-brown. The seeds are eaten in the Eastern Alps under the name of 'Zirbel-nuss.'
Alps from 4400-8000 feet (extreme limits). May, June. Local.
Carpathians; Eastern, Central, and Western Alps, Central and Northern Europe, Siberia. In Switzerland in the Pennine Chain from the Dranse to the Simplon, the Bernese Ober-land, and Engadine. It is often associated with the Larch. There are proofs of more elevated ancient limits in many localities.
A beautiful photograph of "A typical Alp or mountain pasture, with the Stone Pine in the foreground (6300 feet)" appears in Dr. Arber's Plant Life in Alpine Switzerland, p. 24.