Scots Pine (Pinus Sylvestris)
Scots pine is an evergreen conifer native to northern Europe. Mature trees grow to 35m and can live for up to 700 years. The bark is a scaly orange-brown, which develops plates and fissures with age. Twigs are green-brown and hairless.
Mature trees which have reddish bark towards the crown of the tree and brown bark towards the base. The needles are twisted and when broken, they have a fine white fringe of hairs.
After pollination by wind, the female flowers turn green and develop into cones. They mature the following season, so there are always cones of different ages on the one tree. Mature cones are grey-brown with a raised, circular bump at the centre of each scale.
WHERE TO FIND
Scots pine is the only truly native pine in the UK. It thrives in heathland and is widely planted for timber, but is also found in abundance in the Caledonian forest in the Scottish Highlands.
VALUE TO WILDLIFE
The Caledonian forest is a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and is home to rare species such as the creeping lady’s tresses and lesser twayblade orchids; the Scottish wood ant and Rannoch looper; and the capercaillie, crested tit and Scottish crossbill. Mammals include red squirrel, pine marten and Scottish wildcat.
Scots pine timber is one of the strongest softwoods available and is widely used in the construction industry and in joinery. It is used in the manufacture of telegraph poles, pit props, gate posts and fencing. The tree can also be tapped for resin to make turpentine. Other uses include rope made from the inner bark, tar from the roots and a dye from the cones. Dry cones can be used as kindling for fires.
Images courtesy of Woodlandtrust.org.uk