Austrian Pine

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
A tall conifer located near the Yale Greenhouse, this Austrian Pine is especially easy to identify due to the placement of a name card on its trunk. To otherwise identify this tree, turn your head up and look towards the sky. The branches extend way above your head and the trunk stands straight and tall. Generally the Austrian Pine can grow to reach 40 to 60 feet, although this one is just about 40 feet. The Austrian Pine is extremely hardy, and can survive in many urban environments since it can grow even with pollution or abnormal levels of salinity in the air. You might even say that the Austrian Pine's motto is survive and thrive.
Hana Bendy and Kevin Chen
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Oval or Pyramidal
Date of tree entry: 
11.30 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.70 m

The bark has a checkered appearance, looking much like a mosaic. The trunk has no branches, suggesting that this Austrian pine is past its youth. The bark is thus exposed to constant sunlight, and has very different colors and shapes. Multiple layers of the bark are exposed, also allowing for the mosaic appearance. Although different layers are exposed, the bark still retains somewhat of a smooth texture.
Twigs & branches
The Austrian pine in its youth often has large branches and foliage that drape completely to the ground. As it gets older, the lower branches are absent, like in this specific Austrian pine in the Marsh Gardens. Most Austrian pines have a flat-topped crown with spreading branches that reach out, or they have a pyramidal shape, which branches drooping down. Because the branches begin to droop, they do require pruning as the tree ages.
The Austrian pine has needles that come together in two per bundle. The needles are about six inches long, thick, and live for about six to eight years on the twig branchlets. This gives the tree a dense and bold-tipped appearance. The needles give off a slight fragrance often associated with evergreens and pines. One of the diseases that affects the foliage of the Austrian Pine is Diplodia tip blight, a fungal disease. The Diplodia fungus causes the newly grown needles of a tree to mature stunted and brown. The small black reproductive structures of the fungus are visible at the base of stunted needles, which appear a brown tufts at the ends of branches. Resources: Austrian Pine. DOA: 4/24/2017.
Reproductive Structures
The Austrian pine, like most evergreens, is a monoecious species. Its staminate cone emerges in spring. It is orange-yellow in color and bears the pollen of the tree. These new shoots then fertilize the immature female cone, which is often on a nearby branch. The female cones are reddish brown in color. The fertilized cone becomes mature at about three inches, and has small prickles on its scales. These cones do not attract wildlife and often fall and litter around the base of the tree. In order to release their seeds they spread their scales and they can remain on the tree for up to several years.
  • Austrian Pine Winter
  • Austrian Pine Spring
  • Austrian Pine Summer
Natural range of distribution: 
As depicted in the map above, in Europe, the Austrian pine extends from longitude 5° W. in Spain and Morocco to 40°E in Turkey as well as from latitude 35° N. in Morocco to 48° in NE Austria and 45°N latitude in Crimea. In the US, the Austrian pine grows in Hardiness Zones 4-7, which includes Nova Scotia, southern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, southern Ontario, Michigan, northern Indiana, northern Illinois, Wisonsin, Iowa, northern Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana, southwestern Alberta, and central BC. Its ideal conditions include full sun (i.e. at least six hours of direct sunlight per day) as well as normal moisture in the soil. The Austrian pine prefers cool to cold temperate climates. These trees can withstand temperatures of -30°C and annual precipitation of 610 to 1020 mm. Austrian pines can withstand weight from ice and can carry on photosynthesis at -5°C and respiration at -19°C. The Austrian pine is very hardy in that it has adapted to a large variety of soil types and topographic habitats. It can grow in acidic, alkaline, loamy, sandy, clay, and even well drained soils. It does, however, require a deep soil. Moreover, it has some drought tolerance. In Europe, Austrian pine exists in elevations that range from 250 to 1800 m (820 to 5,910 ft). As mentioned above, in the US, Austrian pine has seen major introduction in the Northeastern States as well as in the Great Plains region. In the Northeast, soils of high pH have allowed the tree to see particular success. In the Great Plains, the Austrian pine has shown the best survival, height, vigor and crown development in deep, well-drained, loamy regions along river lowlands and stream valleys.
Origin, history, and uses: 

The Austrian pine is native to Austria, northern Italy and (formerly known) Yugoslavia. It was introduced to the US in 1759, and has served as a landscape tree as well as a working tree that restores strip mines and other scarred land by stabilizing soil and shielding against the wind. (Arbor day foundation) More than 217 million Austrian pines were planted in the US during the great dust bowl shelterbelt project. Many trees were also planted on the treeless Great Plains in the early 1900’s to offer protection from the wind and snow. Austrian pines are also used as timber-producing trees. It has also seen increased use in urban and industrial environments as improvement plantings because of its rapid growth rate and insensitivity to various pollutants, such as salt spray, industrial dust, dry soil, and smoke. Finally, the Austrian pine is also an important wildlife habitat. 

The Austrian pine is an evergreen tree. Thus, it bears leaves all year round. The Austrian pine is a monoecious species, with staminate and ovulate structures separate but on the same tree. Staminate strobili are found at the base of new shoots and are short-stalked, cylindrical and bright yellow with many scales. From terminal and lateral branches, one or two ovulate strobili grow in the form of cylindrical, small, bright red, and sessile conelets. Pollen dispersal occurs from May to June. Although conelet receptivity occurs for the same duration, individual ovulates are capable of receiving pollen for ~ 3 days. Once their pollen has been dispersed, staminate strobili dry out and fall. Following a few days after pollination, the ovulate strobili scales will close to initate a slow developmental process. Fertilization occurs about 13 months after pollination in the spring or summer of the second growing season. Seeds are dispersed from the months of October to November following fertilization in the second growing season.

1.     “Austrian PinePinus Nigra.” Austrian Pine on the Tree Guide at N.p.,   n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

2.     “Austrian Pine.” Austrian Pine. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

3.     Van Haverbeke, David F. “Pinus Nigra Arnold: European Black Pine.” Pinus Nigra      Arnold. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

Media and Arts
Learn the water dance inspired by the Austrian pine.