The pine tree is one of the most popular and well-known species in the world, but not many people understand just how many different species there are of this amazing tree, and just how different some of them can be!
Learning about plants and different species is really important for many reasons, both for students of nature and scientists, to bushcrafters, survivalists and of course gardeners and landscapers.
However, too few people have a good understanding of the natural world and the plants that comprise it, due in part to the massively expanded understanding we now have about different species and subspecies, and our isolation from the natural world in our day to day lives.
However learning about plants doesn’t have to be difficult, and one of the best ways to expand your knowledge is to learn by grouping together species of plants and learning about some of the most popular and widespread species within it, both to learn what you’re likely to see in your local area and to know what you can grow effectively there.
In this guide, we’re looking at pine tree plants and the many different types you can find all over the world, from famous and well-known species to lesser-known ones and everything in between.
So let’s get started!
Sugar pine is the tallest of all the pine species, so it’s a great place to start us off. The tree often reaches heights over 100 feet, sometimes exceeding 200 feet, and is often named the giant pine tree due to this.
It’s not a great choice for gardeners due to this, but it is majestic and well worth keeping an eye out for. You’ll be able to notice it due to both its size and the fact it has five needles per bundle.
Scots pine sometimes referred to incorrectly as the scotch pine, is a medium-sized tree known for its flaky brown bark and conical shape. It is a fast grower and around medium size, and is quite often used as a Christmas tree in some parts of the world.
It can reach heights of over 30 feet, however, some dwarf cultivars make it a good garden or landscaping option, however, be aware that this tree is vulnerable to high winds and requires full exposure to sunlight to remain healthy.
Mexican Weeping Pine
A very unusual pine tree with drooping needles that give the tree a sullen appearance. This tree is significant in Mexico for its lumber and can reach 60 to 80 feet making it too large for most gardens, however, some big properties may value its unique appearance.
The limber pine is known for being a very hardy and adaptable tree that can survive in various soil conditions, even where the soil is poor. The tree can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet and requires full sun exposure, but is hardy and will thrive almost anywhere.
Japanese White Pine
This is a beautiful and unique tree that develops a very lovely branch pattern as it matures, and can reach heights of 30 to 50 feet quite comfortably. The tree is a little slower growing, but its bark and coloration are very attractive making it very popular in Japanese or Asian inspired gardens.
Jack pines are interesting in that they are hardy and somewhat scrappy-looking pine trees that are fairly often spotted in coastal areas as they make very good windbreaks. It’s a relatively small tree that doesn’t look the most appealing due to sparse needles and spindly branches, but some may value its size and toughness.
Grey pines are tall tree that often has a trunk that forks near the top. They are capable of handling warm environments and are a common sight in the California foothills, where they are known as foothill pines. They can grow to 40 or even 60 feet and are quite hardy, with somewhat flaky bark and sparse needles.
One of the larger pines, this tree is known sometimes as the European Black Pine and is often used for landscape purposes where privacy is needed. However, it is susceptible to many diseases and pests when planted in the US, particularly in the Midwest.
Eastern White Pine
This is one of the fastest-growing pine trees and has also lived for a very long time making it a good choice for people who want to grow a tree from a young age.
It is a popular choice for gardeners due to this, as people can reap the rewards of growing a tree in their lifetime. When mature the tree can reach a hundred feet in height however so be aware of this and make sure to plan accordingly.
Italian Stone Pine
This tree has an umbrella-shaped branch pattern and can reach heights of 30 to 60 feet. It is popularly found around the Mediterranean, hence the name, and is rarely grown in the US despite its appealing shape and coloration. The nuts of the tree, known as pignoli nuts are sometimes harvested commercially due to the fact that they are edible.
The lacebark tree has a very interesting bark pattern and texture that looks more akin to a sycamore tree than a pine. It’s a slow grower but can reach some 50 feet after about 50 years, and it’s a very lovely addition to any garden due to its unique bark.
The Maritime Pine was once very popular and grown heavily for its resin and lumber, as the name suggests. It’s a fairly large tree reaching 100 feet once mature and is well suited to sandy and dry soil in warm climates.
Pind pines are known to reach heights of 30 to 70 feet, however as they mature they become increasingly sparse and ragged which makes them somewhat unattractive as they age.
The tree is known for holding its seed cones for many years, only allowing them to open after they have been heated by a passing fire. These trees are becoming a popular commercial choice.
Also known as the red pine or Canadian pine, this tree is a good landscape option despite the fact that it can grow to 80 feet in height. Its conical crown and high branches make it a good choice for almost any landscape and it’s a popular choice in more temperate northern climes.
Naturally, sand pines prefer sandy, drier soils and are medium-sized tree that thrives in shaded conditions. They are fairly often used in landscaping and are also used as Christmas trees in some places.
Turkish pines are a very popular landscaping tree for hot climates, due to the fact that there are many available cultivars and they have excellent resistance to drought and heat. They have a lovely textured bark and can grow to between 30 and 80 feet, in full sun exposure.
This is a good landscaping option due to its slightly smaller size, coming in at 10 to 50 feet. It’s a common winter choice and is very often seen as a Christmas tree.
Western White Pine
A relative of the Eastern White Pine, this tree is one of the larger pine species, sometimes reaching or exceeding 150 feet in height, meaning it’s not ideal or common in landscaping areas. It’s often seen in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and is a very beautiful sight to behold.
Sometimes referred to as the Jerusalem Pine, this tree is a very hardy heat and drought-resistant tree due to its genesis in the harsh climate of the Mediterranean and the Middle East.
It’s a hardy tree and can reach 60 feet. In some parts of the world, it’s considered an invasive species, due to its ability to survive and thrive in areas that have seen forest fires.
Canary Island Pine
This large tree develops a very attractive umbrella canopy shape as it grows into itself, and is also very durable and hardy, able to survive in most soil types. It’s not very good at dealing with cold weather, however. It is often farmed for its lumber which is aromatic and quite valuable.
Coulter pines are large trees that can exceed 100 feet and have large, quite heavy seed cones. It is native to the mountains and coasts of California and Baja California, where it can handle various soil types, but prefers rocky substrate at altitude. It’s sometimes planted in large public spaces but isn’t popular in small gardens due to its large size.
There are a few subspecies of this pine, some of which are shrubs and some of which are full-blown trees. The trees tend to be quite twisted and bent, and are not popular in landscaping due to their awkward growing patterns, however, it is used commercially as a source of lumber for poles and pulp.
The Monterey Pine is a fast-growing tree that has dark bark and lovely vivid green leaves. It is versatile and quite hardy, used in commercial growing as well as landscaping.
It is native to the coasts of California but has also been introduced to New Zealand where it is grown for timber. It can reach heights of 100 feet in certain climates.
The Ponderosa Pine is a very large tree that can exceed 100 feet and that has a thick straight trunk, making it a popular choice for commercial lumber production. It is also used in landscaping, however, particularly in large spaces due to its attractive shape and easily maintained trunk.
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