Scotch Pine

Basic Information
Tree ID: 
Genus and species: 
Several Scotch Pines (also known as Scots Pines) tower majestically over the Cretaceous Garden near the Peabody. These trees are distinct in that they boast bark that is very thick and dark on their lower trunks. However, as one's eyes follow the trunks towards their tops, the Scotch Pine's bark becomes flaky and orange. The longevity of these trees is surpassed by few; often times, these pines will live for 150 to 300 years, with some of the oldest living Scotch Pines being over 760 years. The Scotch Pine makes up a large portion of coniferous forests in the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, this species has become the target of fatal infestations of Pine Wilt Nematodes and is steadily declining. Still, this species of pine is dominant in places like Russia, Eastern Europe, and the continental United States.
Alex Goss
Collected Data
Tree shape: 
Conical (when untrimmed)
Date of tree entry: 
15.04 m
Diameter at breast height: 
0.29 m

The bark of the Scotch Pine is thick and dark-grey in its middle and at its base. However, bark near the top of the tree is thin, flaky, and orange. Additionally, the bark of the Scotch Pine can easily peel and is often a source of food for porcupines.
Twigs & branches
Branches are thin, gnarled, often crooked, and have needles at their ends. Overall, the branching of the tree is not very dense and showcases a lot of open space between branches.
Leaves (needles) on the Scotch Pine are simple and filiform (needle-like) and can range from 2 to 4 inches. They are arranged in an alternating spiral and have parallel venation. Additionally, needles are evergreen and fragrant. In color, needles of the Scotch Pine are blue-green. Additionally, they are sharp to the touch. There are two Scotch Pine needles per fascicle.
Reproductive Structures
The Scotch Pine is predominantly monoecious, so some parts of the plant are only one sex. Male cones are formed first in the late spring; they take the shape of yellow-orange cones and grow in clusters along the ends of the twigs and branches. Female cones develop during the early summer and begin as clusters of red-purple globs on the ends of branches. After they are pollinated, female cones become large, oval, and yellow-green in the early summer, eventually turning grey-brown by the end of the summer.
The Scotch Pine has pine "nuts" that can be consumed. However, these edible pieces are actually not nuts in the biological sense but seeds because they lack carpels. Scotch Pine produce grey-brown cones formed by pollinated female flowers. These cones are plentiful and often result in a significant amount of biological litter around Scotch Pines.
  • Scotch Pine in winter
  • Scotch Pine in spring
  • Scotch Pine in summer
  • Scotch Pine in fall
Natural range of distribution: 
The Scotch Pine is an incredibly prevalent species and often dominates forests in Western Europe, Siberia, and the United States. The tree is very hardy and is able to grow deep into the Arctic and into Scandinavia. Additionally, the pine normally grows in a wide variety of soil types and has a high tolerance of drought. The Scotch Pine prefers to grow in full sun. Because of these characteristics, the Scotch Pine grows in a wide variety of areas, and has an incredible amount of range.
Origin, history, and uses: 

A prime characteristic of the Scotch Pine is its hardiness. As such, it is often used for reclamation projects. However, this species of pine has recently become the target of nematodes and is thus being used less widely in this fashion.

Because this species grows large and durably, it is a perfect candidate for usage as a Christmas tree. In fact, nearly 30% of Christmas trees produced worldwide are of the Scotch Pine variety. Additionally, the Scotch Pine's wood is often used for pulp or cut into timber and has been used to make tar, rosin, and turpentine since the preindustrial age. Clearly, the Scotch Pine is a tree with many characteristics that make it useful to humans.

The Scotch Pine is a conifer and maintains its leaves throughout the year. Male flowers typically appear in late spring followed by female flowers in early summer.
Media and Arts

The Beauty of the Pine

Oh sturdy Scotch Pine,

So beautiful and proud,

You stand tall and dignified

Reaching as high as a cloud.


Your needles are fine,

And your branches firm,

You can live in so many places,

And your longevity is long-term.


A conifer beauty,

Your sprouts flower in the spring,

You keep your leaves in the winter,

Always standing proud like a king.


But for all nature there is danger,

Even for the mighty Scotch Pine,

We must respect the environment,

Or we shall see it decline.


Oh Sturdy Scotch Pine,

So full of grandeur and beauty,

We must strive to protect you

This must be our duty.