Tree Tuesday: Scots Pine

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), also referred to as a Scotch Pine, is an evergreen conifer, native to northern Europe and northern Asia, from Scotland to Siberia. It has a crooked or twisted trunk that may split into several widely divergent branches at maturity. Scots pines frequently lean with age yet can grow to 50 feet tall.

The Scots pine was widely planted on old farm fields at the turn of the century. Early farmers were familiar with this species from its growth throughout Europe and knew it could tolerate poor, dry soil. Because of their divergent branches and crooked/twisted trunk they never realized the fine timber stands.

The Scots pine has relatively short needles and range from a bluish-green to medium green to yellow-green. Its needles occur in bundles of two. The most distinguishing trait of the needles is their twisted shape.

The Scots pine has orange, flaky bark in the upper trunk and large branches. This is its most recognizable feature from a distance, on mature trees. However, the lower trunk has bark that is strikingly different, composed of gray or reddish-brown fissures and plates.

The small cones that mature in their second year. They do not have prickles on the backside of their scales like other evergreen cones.

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