Evergreen conifers, identifiable by the elongated needles grouped on the twigs.
Pines are very tolerant to drought and there are many species growing in poor soil, for instance along the coast. The somewhat smaller, decorative species are suitable for gardens.
Most pines appreciate acid soil; the mountain pine and the shore pine tolerate chalk.
The species from, garden varieties by grafting or from .
Pinus densiflora, Japanese red pine: Height to 30 m, umbel-shaped crown. Of more interest for gardens in Britain is the cultivar ‘Umbraculifera’, slow-growing to a height of 3 m. The needles are limp and dark green, 6-11 cm long, grouped in pairs.
Pinus mugo syn Pinus montana, mountain pine: Tree to 10 m in height, but more often growing as a shrub. Needles 3-8 cm long, dark green, in pairs. The sub-species mugo and pumilio do not grow beyond 1-2 m, broad habit. Pinus nigra: Height to 40 m, sharply pointed dark-green needles, 9-16 cm long, grouped in pairs. The sub-species nigra is the Austrian pine, very well known and beautiful in reasonably sized gardens, though in the course of time it grows rather too large . The cultivar ‘Pygmaea’, to 3 m, is more suitable; the needles turn yellow in winter.
Pinus parviflora: Height to 15 m; blue-green needles, 2-7 cm long, in bundles of 5, strongly contorted and assembled at the tip of the twigs. In ‘Glauca’ the foliage is of an even deeper blue. Very fine.
Pinus strobus, Weymouth pine: Height to 40 m; needles 7-12 cm long, dark blue-green, in bundles of 5. ‘Radiata’ is a beautiful dwarf form, to 1 m.
Pinus sylvestris, Scots pine: Height to 35 m; picturesque, umbrella-shaped crown. Very numerous in Britain. Needles 3-6 cm long, blue green, in pairs. There are a few low-growing cultivars, for instance ‘Watereri’, slow-growing and globular in shape; the needles blue grey. Pinus wallichiana syn Pinus griffithu: Height 20-25 m; very long needles, 12-18 cm, blue grey with white streaks; they droop in bundles of 5. A beautiful specimen tree, but not very frost resistant.