Pinus halepensis aleppo pine

Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis)

Arabic name: صنوبر حلبي

The ِAleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis) is an evergreen pine that is native to Jordan. It is one of the most common pines in the Mediterranean region. It can form extensive forests, and therefore is used widely in reforestation efforts. It can be found in some of Amman’s older gardens, where this large tree forms a dominant attraction.

It grows to a height of up to 18m, with a spread of 10m, and has a moderate growth rate of about 25cm per year.

Requirements:
The Aleppo Pine grows in full sun and is very heat and drought tolerant. It also is highly tolerant of wind exposure, salt spray, as well as soil salinity and alkalinity. It can survive in any type of soil, including rocky and extremely poor soils, but prefers well-drained soils.

Water usage:
Requires no watering once established. Generally, trees need supplemental irrigation to get established, especially if planted after the rainy season. During the first year, irrigate in the amount of 20 – 25 liters of water twice a week. During its second year, a tree needs to be irrigated in the amount of 40 liters once a week. Beginning with the third year, trees usually get established, and some, like the Aleppo Pine, do not require any supplemental irrigation.

Appearance:
This evergreen pine grows into a large tree with a spreading crown and large lateral branches. The long slender 6.5 – 10cm needles grow in bundles of two. The flowers on the same tree are either male or female, and are wind pollinated. The Aleppo Pine produces 7.5cm long, oval to oblong cones that are reddish to yellow-brown.

Notes on use:
Native tree; good for windbreaks, and in forests and parks.

Propagation:
May be propagated from seeds.

Maintenance:
Lower branches may be trimmed in late winter to encourage tall growth. Its leaf and cone litter produce a thick carpet on the ground.

Notes:
The Aleppo Pine often is planted to help achieve soil stabilization. It is used in leather tanning, production of dye, and resin extraction. It also has various uses in folk medicine.

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Pine Trees

Pines are some of the best known plants around the world. They possess huge economic importance through the timber trade and are easily identifiable due to their characteristic cone-shaped growth form and needle-like leaves.

The pines are a family of around 250 woody, seed producing plants. They include conifers such as cedars, spruces, firs and pines. Of all the conifers, the pines have one of the largest distributions although they are found almost entirely in the Northern Hemisphere.

Growth form

Pines can be either trees or shrubs. They are all woody, branching plants and grow into the iconic cone shape that pines are famous for. From the top of the tree or shrub, a single ring of new branches each year which creates a gradual increase in length from the newest to oldest branches.

They typically have thick bark and possess needle-like leaves and hardened cones. Most species are evergreen and their leaves are typically long-lived. Leaves of the bristlecone pine, Pinus longaeva, are known to live for up to 40 years.

Distribution of pine trees

Pines are naturally found almost exclusively in the Northern Hemisphere. They are found through much of North America, China, South-East Asia, Russia and Europe and have one of the largest distributions of any conifer family.

Pine trees are the dominant plants in many cool-temperate and boreal forests. They are particularly successful in cold areas where broad-leaved plants are unable to survive such as the boreal forest and at high altitude.

Ecology of pine trees

Pines are well adapted to life in cold environments and in nutrient poor soils. Their growth form helps to reduce the amount of snow each branch must support over winter and prevents branches from falling off. Often the fallen needles of pines will form a dense mat on the forest floor and prevent other plants growing underneath them. Often being evergreen plants, pines can form a well-developed canopy and reduce the amount of light penetrating to the forest floor. This again prevents other plants growing underneath pines in pine forests.

Pines enjoy receiving high levels of light and can struggle to survive in shaded areas. They also struggle to compete with broad-leaved plants in productive areas such as tropical rainforests.

Many species have the ability to withstand burning. Their thick layer of bark helps to protect the tree during fires and prevent burning of vulnerable woody tissue.

Diversity and taxonomy

There is estimated to be around 250 species of pines throughout the world. They are the most diverse and abundant family of conifer in the world, especially so in the Northern Hemisphere.

The pines form a family of conifers called Pinaceae. The family Pineceae sits within the order Pinales and the sub-class Pinidae. It includes a total of 11 genera which include the spruces, cedars, firs, pines and more.

Evolution of pine trees

Pines are thought to have evolved around 153 million years ago, although estimates do vary quite widely. The genus Pinus which includes some important timber species is thought to have diverged from other pines approximately 95 million years ago.

Forestry

Timber and paper industries around the world are built around the growth of planted pine forests. Timber is an essential building material all around the world, both in first and third world countries; and paper has been used for various purposes for hundreds of years. Pines are the dominant trees grown in the majority of countries for both the timber and paper industries and have been critical in both of these multi-billion dollar industries.

Interesting facts

  • The bristlecone pine is the longest living species of plant on Earth, living for over 4,700 years.
  • Pinus radiata has been planted all around the world for timber but was originally only native to a few very small areas on the coast of California and Mexico.

Last edited: 22 May 2015

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What kinds of trees are in your backyard? Do they have pinecones? Colorful leaves? Pods with seeds? Tell us more or send a picture to [email protected]

Dear Jessy,

As I was hiking through the bristlecone pine forests of the Sierra Nevada recently, I stumbled upon a tree barely six inches tall.

It was growing—slowly, but surely. I was surprised to find this tiny pine tree was already about 40 years old.

Some trees will stop growing once they reach that age. But others live much longer. In fact bristlecone pine trees aren’t just the oldest trees, they are some of the oldest living things on our planet. They can live for about 5,000 years.

“These trees were growing when the Egyptians were building the pyramids,” said my friend Kevin Zobrist, a forester at Washington State University.

Zobrist knows a lot about different trees and told me a bit about bristlecone pine trees.

By the time the pines are about 5,000 years old, they will stand 60 feet tall with a trunk that is nearly five feet around. If we were to cut into the trunk, we could look at its growth rings. Each ring would signify a year of its life. We would have a lot of counting to do.

Click to zoom in.

On my hike, I noticed some of the trees’ young pinecones were purplish-pink. Eventually they would turn brown and fall to the ground. I spotted a few old cones by the tree. They had that fresh pine scent.

I looked up at the branches that twisted and stretched like arms up to the sky. I wondered how on earth these trees were able to live such long lives.

Zobrist explained that bristlecone pine trees are tough and have adapted to their environment. They are equipped to deal with drought, extreme climates, and insects that might cause serious damage if they attack.

For example, the tree can actually shut down or go dormant for a while, if conditions are too harsh. This helps the tree survive for thousands of years.

“They teach us that nature is resilient,” Zobrist said. “They teach us that nature can carry on.”

Of course, not all trees live quite as long as these pines. But many live longer than humans and us cats.

The redwood trees of California are about six times taller than the bristlecone pines. Some of them have been around for nearly 2,000 years.

Even when a tree dies, it finds a new life. Creatures and plants on the forest floor are counting on the trees to get old, die, and fall. They can use the fallen trees as their home or for food.

It’s been said that trees are our planet’s lungs. They help make the oxygen we breathe and keep life thriving on our planet. I took a deep breath of the mountain air and said a quick thank you to the trees before heading down the trail, on to the next adventure.

Sincerely,

Dr. Universe

Aleppo Pine Information: How To Grow An Aleppo Pine Tree

Native to the Mediterranean region, Aleppo pine trees (Pinus halepensis) require a warm climate to thrive. When you see cultivated Aleppo pines in the landscape, they will usually be in parks or commercial areas, not home gardens, because of their size. Read on for more Aleppo pine information.

About Aleppo Pine Trees

These tall pine trees grow naturally from Spain to Jordan and take their common name from a historic city in Syria. They only thrive in the United States in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. If you see Aleppo pines in the landscape, you’ll notice that the trees are large, rugged and upright with an irregular branching structure. They can grow to 80 feet (24 m.) tall.

According to Aleppo pine information, these are survivor trees, accepting poor soil and difficult growing conditions. Drought resistant, they are extremely tolerant of desert conditions as well as urban conditions. That’s what makes Aleppo pine trees the most cultivated ornamental pine in the Southwest United States.

Aleppo Pine Tree Care

If you live in a warm region and have a very large yard, there is no reason why you cannot start growing an Aleppo pine. They are evergreen conifers with soft needles about 3 inches (7.6 cm.) long. Aleppo pine trees have gray bark, smooth when young but dark and furrowed as they mature. The trees often develop a romantically twisted trunk. The pine cones can grow to about the size of your fist. You can propagate the tree by planting the seeds found in the cones.

The one thing to remember if you want to grow an Aleppo pine is to site it in direct sun. Aleppo pines in the landscape require sun to survive. Otherwise, Aleppo pine care won’t require much thought or effort. They are heat tolerant trees and only require deep, infrequent irrigation even in the hottest months. That’s why they make excellent street trees.

Does Aleppo pine tree care include pruning? According to Aleppo pine information, the only time you need to prune these trees is if you require additional space beneath the canopy.

Pinus halepensis
(Aleppo pine)

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Aleppo Pine (Pinus Halepensis)

Aleppo Pine Data Sheet

Common name: Aleppo pine
Latin name: Pinus halepensis
Genus: Pinus
Height: 25 m (82 ft)
Type: Evergreen
Hardiness: Zone 8–10
Conservation status: Least concern

Aleppo Pine Info

The Aleppo pine is a small to medium evergreen tree native to the mainland of Europe, including Morroco, Spain, Algeria, France, Italy. Southernmost reaches include Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Israel.

It can grow up to 25 m (82 ft) tall. Trunk diameter can exceed 0.6 m.

The leaves are needle-like and around 12cm long with a green/yellow colour. Pine cones are conical and 12 cm long.

This is a prized tree for commercial wood production in North America and Europe. Also a winner for landscape use in hot, dry regions as it is very drought tolerant.

This species can live for 180 years.

Growth Habit

Aleppo pine shoot growth usually starts in February and continues until September. Yearly height increases of 0.4–0.8 ft are common beyond season 2.

These were sown this year. Plants are 2–3″ tall.

Saplings are in pots. I recommend they are separated into their own 4″ pots when you receive them. Growth rate is medium. Plants can be kept in a cool conservatory, windowsill or outside over the winter months.

Fully hardy off to minus 18°C or colder come autumn.

Care Instructions

Keep free from competing weeds and never allow to completely dry out. Water logging should also be avoided. Trees will perform best raised outdoors in full sunny position. The growth rate is medium and will soon need re-potting to beyond a 10″ pot. Once the trees reach around 1 ft high they can be set in their final planting position.

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Common Name: Aleppo Pine

Scientific Name: Pinus halepensis

Family: Pinaceae

Figure 1: Aleppo Pine Tree

Identification:

  • Habit: The Aleppo Pine is a small to medium sized evergreen tree that grows on average to 15-25m (49-82 ft) tall with a trunk diameter up to 60cm (24 in) at a medium growth rate. When you see this tree you can tell that the shape is familiar. The base of the tree has longer and thicker branches, while the higher you get the branches point more upwards and come to a point at the top, but the tree is about as wide as it is tall or cone-shaped depending on the growth.
  • Leaves: Because this is a pine, these trees are unique in a way where the leaves are needle-shaped, and between 6-12 cm (2.4-4.7in) in length in this species.

Figure 2: Aleppo pine twigs with needles

  • Twigs & Bark: The tree itself has orange-red colored bark that near the base of the tree is very thick while nearing towards the top of the tree it becomes thinner and flaky.

Figure 3: Aleppo pine bark

  • Seed Cones: Pine cones can be found scattered throughout the tree’s branches. These pine cones are a narrow cone shape about 5-12.7cm (2-5 in) long on average. At first, they start out as a greenish color when they first start to grow, and over time they turn into a glossy red-brown color as they ripen. Over the next few years, these cones may start to open which causes the seeds inside to be wind-dispersed. In times that these cones are exposed to a larger amount of heat (such as in forest fires) the cones may open at a quicker rate.

Figure 4: Young pinecone from Aleppo Pine

Figure 5: Ripening pinecone from Aleppo Pine

Where it’s from:

  • Native Range: The Aleppo Pine grows in the hotter parts of the Mediterranean coast where brush and forest fires are more frequent. They are commonly scattered on sunny hills or on slopes that lead down to the seashore. This is a tree that cannot survive in the shade but needs available access to the sunlight. This tree is not a native of California but it can be found planted throughout in hot, dry areas such as Southern California.
  • Ecological notes: This tree is valued in hot and dry areas because of its considerable heat and drought tolerance, fast growth, and aesthetic qualities (good looks). This species has adapted to be able to grow in areas of nutritionally poor soils and can grow in alkaline (basic) soils. This tree can grow in dry to moist soil.

Figure 6: Aleppo Pine hillside habitat

What we use it for:

  • Edible Uses: A resin from the trunk of the tree can be used for chewing and for flavoring wine. Using the resins released by the tree, a by-product can be obtained that can be used as vanillin flavoring. From the pine nuts (seeds) of the Aleppo Pine you can make a pudding called “asidet zgougou” in the Tunisian dialect.
  • Medicinal Uses: The turpentine, a fluid obtained by distilling resin from live trees, is a traditional remedy used internally in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems. This turpentine is also considered to be beneficial to the respiratory system and useful in treating coughs, colds, and influenza. Externally it has been found useful in the treatment of skin complaints such as wounds, sores, burns, and boils.
  • Other Uses: A tan or green dye can be obtained from the needle-like leaves. Pitch can also be obtained from the resin and can be used for waterproofing and as a wood preservative. The wood of the Aleppo pine is not of great use in construction because it has poor quality. It had been used for the making of boats in ancient times, but (as time has gone on) it has become less and less useful. Today these trees are practically used as fuel or to produce wood of low quality. Other pines have taken the place for most of its uses leaving it now as more of a tree for its aesthetic looks and use for tinder and fuel.

Biographer: Aaron White ‘21, FYS 20: Plants in Our World, Fall 2017

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