Pinus sylvestris (Scot's pine)

Scientific name : Pinus sylvestris
Botanical Family : Pinaceae

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The plant Pinus sylvestris, is the 88794th most popular plant at placing it in the top 42% of botanical plant names on our site.

English name : Scot's pine
Description : Has branches of two kinds, long and short shoots, the former growing on without interruption each year, the latter bearing the pair of needle-like leaves which arise in the midst of small scales ; after persisting for three or four years these leaf-bearing short shoots fall off, and are really deciduous (term for leaves falling off), though the tree is of course always green (evergreen); the male or staminate " cones " are crowded towards the top of the shoot, and about the end of May when the branches are disturbed by the wind clouds of pollen are dispersed ; the pollen-grains are provided with two air-filled bladders, which makes them very buoyant ; they are thus transported to the more familiar female cones which bear the ovules and eventually the seeds ; when these are mature one may hear in a pine wood on a warm summer day little explosions at intervals, indicating the release of a small winged seed from the cone, formerly more or less erect, but now drooping, which facilitates the escape of the seed ; this falls with a rotatory movement which carries it well away from the shade of the parent tree, where it stands a better chance of germination (family Pinaceae).

Most people know a Pine tree when they see one, and the drawing may help them to distinguish the native from the numerous cultivated kinds.

Those familiar with Scotland and parts of the Lake district in Cumberland, and, nearer London, Bagshot Heath, will realise how much the scenery owes to this most beautiful tree.

Though young specimens are of rather formal pyramidal growth, older examples spread out their tops like a Cedar of Lebanon, and rarely clash with other types of vegetation. Usually the Pine is associated with Heather, Ling, and Bracken. Scots Pine is greatly valued for its timber and as firewood. Like all Conifers, it is a " softwood," as compared with Oak, a " hardwood."

One can travel far abroad and still meet with the tree, sometimes in most diverse climates, even as far as Eastern Siberia, where the temperature in winter falls to 40 F., and in Southern Spain, with a summer temperature up to 95 F.

There are several varieties, some of which, however, are not at all constant and are dependent on soil conditions.

For example, Pines which have been small and stunted assume the ordinary tall form when the condition of the soil is changed by draining.

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